What is HIV? HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a retrovirus that infects and destroys helper T-cells of the immune system, causing the marked reduction of healthy T-cells.
What is AIDS? AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is the most severe manifestation of infection with the HIV virus of the body's immune system. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) lists numerous infections that, in the presence of HIV infection constitute an AIDS diagnosis. Having a CD4 T-cell count of 200 or less. A normal CD4 T-cell count is 500-1500.
A brief history. Some scientists believe that HIV virus spread from Chimpanzees to humans between 1926-1946. Recent research indicates it may have been as early as 1675, but did not establish itself as an epidemic strain in Africa until 1930. The first proven AIDS death happened in the Congo in 1959. Between 1978-1981 a growing number of people in the US, Sweden, Tanzania, and Haiti began showing signs of what would later be called AIDS. 1983 The Institute Pasteur, France, identifies the HIV virus. 1985 The FDA approves the first antibody test for the HIV virus in humans and blood supplies. In the 90's researchers have discovered how the virus works and have developed new medicines called Inhibitors and antrietrovirals. These medicines greatly restrict and/or prevent the viruses" ability to replicate; but they are not a cure.
How does the HIV virus work? The virus attaches itself to T-cells, which are a fundamental part of our immune system. It uses the T-cells for replication producing thousands of new viruses to infect new cells, steadily over taking and destroying the body's immune system. This leaves the body unable to defend itself against Opportunistic Infections.
How can you contract the HIV virus? The HIV virus is contracted by the exchange of body fluids. Various ways this is done is by having unprotected sex,(semen, vaginal secretions), sharing needles with an infected person (intravenous drug use, body piercing, tattooing, ect.