HIV What Is HIV The Human Immunodeficiency Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

HIV

What is HIV?

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is believed to be the virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a deadly disease that affects nearly one million Americans every year (Silverstein, 1991).

HIV is classified as a retrovirus that uses RNA templates to produce DNA. For example, within the core of HIV, a double molecule of ribonucleic acid, RNA, exists. When the virus invades a cell, this genetic material is replicated in the form of DNA.

However, in order to produce this DNA, HIV must first be able to produce a particular enzyme that can construct a DNA molecule through a RNA template. This enzyme, known as RNA-directed DNA polymerase, is also referred to as reverse transcription because it reverses the typical cellular process of transcription.

The DNA molecules created by reverse transcription are then placed in the genetic material of the host cell, where they are co-replicated with the host's chromosomes. As a result, they are distributed to all daughter cells during subsequent cell divisions. The virus then produces RNA copies of its genetic material. These new HIV clones become covered with protein coats and leave the cell to find other host cells to repeat the process.

The HIV virus, like many other viruses, targets particular types of cells in the body and occupy them. HIV targets the T cells of the immune system, as well as the brain, nervous system, digestive system, lymphatic system, and other areas of the human body.

The immune system consists of specialized cells, which fight off germs in an effort to maintain a healthy body (Aronstein, 1998). The "T" cells are the brains of the operation. These tiny white blood cells identify invaders and alert soldier-type cells, which then fight various bacteria, viruses, cancers, fungi, and parasites that can damage the body.

The main goal of the HIV virus is to reproduce itself. When it attacks and invades a T cell, it converts that cell into a small virus factory. Eventually, so many new viruses are located in the cell that the T cell explodes, pushing the HIV back into the bloodstream. The virus then invades fresh T cells and repeats its mission. Eventually, the HIV virus can destroy all of an infected person's T cells.

How HIV is Spread

HIV is basically spread through the exchange of bodily fluids, such as blood and semen (Silverstein). In most cases, HIV from the bodily fluids of infected men and women enters the bloodstream of an uninfected person during unprotected sex. However, unprotected sex is not the only way that the disease is spread.

A person can be infected with HIV as a result of sharing needles or syringes, which provide direct exposure to the blood of an infected individual. Many drug users are infected this way, as they often inject needles into their veins (Folks, 1998, p. 4).

In addition, a mother who has HIV can transmit the disease to her baby, before or during childbirth, or through breast-feeding. However, research shows that only 25 to 35% of babies born to HIV-infected mothers around the world become infected this way (p. 6). Still, this method of infection is responsible for 90% of all cases of HIV in children.

HIV has also been passed along through open mouth kissing, as well as sharing fluids, toothbrushes and razors.

Detection and Diagnosis

In the 1980's, a blood test was invented that could detect traces of HIV in the bloodstream (Aronstein). The original test would show whether a person's blood held antibodies against HIV, which indicated that the person was exposed to the virus.

In the 1990's, an additional blood test was created to detect HIV antigens, enabling doctors to identify HIV even before a person's immune system had time to make antibodies.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's authoritative definition for the diagnoses of AIDS concludes that the CD4 T-cell count in an HIV positive person must be below 200 cells per cubic mm of blood, or there must be a clinical appearance of an initial AIDS-defining opportunistic infection, such as PCP (a type of pneumonia), oral candidiasis, pulmonary tuberculosis, or invasive cervical carcinoma (cancer in the cervix of women) (Virginia Silverstein 23).

Symptoms of HIV

During the first stages of HIV, most people experience few or no symptoms of the disease (Cohen, 1999). According to studies, the majority of people infected with HIV show temporary, gentle symptoms immediately upon affection. However, most dismiss these symptoms as a few or…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"HIV What Is HIV The Human Immunodeficiency" (2003, March 12) Retrieved December 3, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/hiv-what-is-the-human-immunodeficiency-145315

"HIV What Is HIV The Human Immunodeficiency" 12 March 2003. Web.3 December. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/hiv-what-is-the-human-immunodeficiency-145315>

"HIV What Is HIV The Human Immunodeficiency", 12 March 2003, Accessed.3 December. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/hiv-what-is-the-human-immunodeficiency-145315

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • AIDS Immunity What Is AIDS

    Some of the illnesses linked with AIDS can be prevented or cured through other treatments ("What is the difference" par, 5). Symptoms of HIV / AIDS: Depending on the phase of the infection, the symptoms of HIV and AIDS vary. In early HIV infection, a person may have no signs or symptoms at all. Nonetheless, a person may develop a brief (two to four-week) flu-like illness when first infected with HIV.

  • HIV and AIDS in Kenya Human Immunodeficiency

    HIV and AIDS in Kenya Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a very deadly disease. This disease causes debilitating illness and ultimately causes early death in people who are in the prime of their lives. This illness has major affects on the families that are impacted. HIV / AIDS ruins the lives of many, those infected and their families. Children are orphaned, wives are widowed and

  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus HIV Has Grown Into

    Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has grown into an epidemic that has spun out of control and grown into something that needs to be addressed in a manner that everyone will finally agree that this situation has to be remedied. No longer can HIV be viewed as a way to ostracize those who most need help, nor should it be seen as a method to suppress those of lower socioeconomic status

  • HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus HIV Is a

    HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the immune system causing the individual to be at risk for opportunity infections, or infections that come about because the immune system is weak. It is a slow progressive disease that is present throughout the body. Humans can get infected with HIV through contact with tissues, such as vaginal, anal area, mouth, eyes, or a break in the skin, such

  • AIDS HIV AIDS Is the Acronym for Acquired

    AIDS/HIV AIDS is the acronym for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, a human viral disease that affects and destroys the immune system. It is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and leaves an infected person vulnerable to opportunistic infections. No cure has as yet been found for AIDS and is invariably fatal once the infection is full blown although certain treatments can prolong the life spans and improve the quality of life

  • HIV AIDS HIV AIDS

    (High-Risk Pregnancy). There is no doubt that AIDS is a world wide problem, which is why it has been referred to as a pandemic. It is estimated that in the time that this disease has been recorded millions of people have died ( HIV / AIDS). There are ongoing efforts to find scientific means of combating this disease. For example in 1983 the first blood test to detect exposure

  • HIV and AIDS Gallo R

    The second session had camera instruction. The third session had each participant given a camera and they were instructed to "(t)ake pictures of the challenges and solution in addressing HIV and AIDS" (Mitchell et al., 2005). The fourth session saw the photos developed and asked small groups to compare and contrast their pictures by creating posters. The authors draw on previous research on photo-voice techniques, as well as memory and


Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved