Human Immunodeficiency Virus

'Redesigned' antibodies may control HIV

With the help of a computer program called "Rosetta," researchers at Vanderbilt University have "redesigned" an antibody that has increased potency and can neutralize more strains of the AIDS-causing human ...

May 18, 2015
popularity 9 comments 0

Scientists 'un-can' the HIV virus

If the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a bit like a hermetically sealed tin can no one has yet been able to break open, the good news is that researchers at the CHUM Research Centre, affiliated with ...

May 04, 2015
popularity 247 comments 0

Increase seen in data breaches of health information

Between 2010 and 2013, data breaches of protected health information reported by HIPAA-covered entities increased and involved approximately 29 million records, with most data breaches resulting from overt criminal activity, ...

Apr 14, 2015
popularity 5 comments 0

Cellular scissors chop up HIV virus

Imagine a single drug that could prevent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, treat patients who have already contracted HIV, and even remove all the dormant copies of the virus from those with the ...

Mar 10, 2015
popularity 83 comments 0

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a lentivirus (a member of the retrovirus family) that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive. Infection with HIV occurs by the transfer of blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre-ejaculate, or breast milk. Within these bodily fluids, HIV is present as both free virus particles and virus within infected immune cells. The four major routes of transmission are unsafe sex, contaminated needles, breast milk, and transmission from an infected mother to her baby at birth (perinatal transmission). Screening of blood products for HIV has largely eliminated transmission through blood transfusions or infected blood products in the developed world.

HIV infection in humans is considered pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Nevertheless, complacency about HIV may play a key role in HIV risk. From its discovery in 1981 to 2006, AIDS killed more than 25 million people. HIV infects about 0.6% of the world's population. In 2009, AIDS claimed an estimated 1.8 million lives, down from a global peak of 2.1 million in 2004. Approximately 260,000 children died of AIDS in 2009. A disproportionate number of AIDS deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa, retarding economic growth and exacerbating the burden of poverty. An estimated 22.5 million people (68% of the global total) live with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, which is also home to 90% of the world's 16.6 million children orphaned by HIV. Treatment with antiretroviral drugs reduces both the mortality and the morbidity of HIV infection. Although antiretroviral medication is still not universally available, expansion of antiretroviral therapy programs since 2004 has helped to turn the tide of AIDS deaths and new infections in many parts of the world. Intensified awareness and preventive measures, as well as the natural course of the epidemic, have also played a role. Nevertheless, an estimated 2.6 million people were newly infected in 2009.

HIV infects vital cells in the human immune system such as helper T cells (specifically CD4+ T cells), macrophages, and dendritic cells. HIV infection leads to low levels of CD4+ T cells through three main mechanisms: First, direct viral killing of infected cells; second, increased rates of apoptosis in infected cells; and third, killing of infected CD4+ T cells by CD8 cytotoxic lymphocytes that recognize infected cells. When CD4+ T cell numbers decline below a critical level, cell-mediated immunity is lost, and the body becomes progressively more susceptible to opportunistic infections.

Most untreated people infected with HIV-1 eventually develop AIDS. These individuals mostly die from opportunistic infections or malignancies associated with the progressive failure of the immune system. HIV progresses to AIDS at a variable rate affected by viral, host, and environmental factors; most will progress to AIDS within 10 years of HIV infection: some will have progressed much sooner, and some will take much longer. Treatment with anti-retrovirals increases the life expectancy of people infected with HIV. Even after HIV has progressed to diagnosable AIDS, the average survival time with antiretroviral therapy was estimated to be more than 5 years as of 2005[update]. Without antiretroviral therapy, someone who has AIDS typically dies within a year.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA

Latest Spotlight News

First-ever possible treatments for MERS

As the South Korean epidemic of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) continues unabated, researchers have raced to find treatments for the deadly virus, which has killed more than 400 people since it was ...

New strategies against rare, fatal lung syndrome

Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS) patients suffer symptoms including albinism, visual impairment, and slow blood clotting, but what makes some versions of the genetic condition fatal is that patients with some ...

How your brain knows it's summer

Researchers led by Toru Takumi at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered a key mechanism underlying how animals keep track of the seasons. The study, published in Proceedings of the Na ...

Severe asthma fails to respond to mainstay treatment

The immune response that occurs in patients with severe asthma is markedly different than what occurs in milder forms of the lung condition, according to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School ...

PTSD raises odds of heart attack and stroke in women

Women with elevated symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder consistent with the clinical threshold for the disorder had 60 percent higher rates of having a heart attack or stroke compared with women who ...