The Virus that changed the world
What is HIV/AIDS?
HIV (As defined by aids.gov)
H – Human – This particular virus can only infect human beings.
I – Immunodeficiency – HIV weakens your immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. A "deficient" immune system can't protect you.
V – Virus – A virus can only reproduce itself by taking over a cell in the body of its host.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a lot like other viruses, including those that cause the "flu" or the common cold. But there is an important difference – over time, your immune system can clear most viruses out of your body. That isn't the case with HIV – the human immune system can't seem to get rid of it. Scientists are still trying to figure out why.
AIDS (as defined by aids.gov)
A – Acquired – AIDS is not something you inherit from your parents. You acquire AIDS after birth.
I – Immuno – Your body's immune system includes all the organs and cells that work to fight off infection or disease.
D – Deficiency – You get AIDS when your immune system is "deficient," or isn't working the way it should.
S – Syndrome – A syndrome is a collection of symptoms and signs of disease. AIDS is a syndrome, rather than a single disease, because it is a complex illness with a wide range of complications and symptoms.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is the final stage of HIV infection. People at this stage of HIV disease have badly damaged immune systems, which put them at risk for opportunistic infections
The History of HIV/AIDS
- In 1981, epidemiologists were racing to understand what we now know as AIDS, a virus that was killing young men in California.
- It quickly became one of the deadliest pandemics that man ever encountered.
- The CDC launched a study in 1984 to discover what the disease was, and how it worked.
- The study found that out of a group of 30 men, the disease originated from one man and spread out through sexual contact to the rest of the group.
- The CDC identified this central "spoke" as patient zero, and released his name: Gaëtan Dugas.
- Gaëtan Dugas was person who worked for Air Canada, and he travelled the world, and sinisterly had intercourse with thousands of gay men, transmitting the disease to all of them. He is credited with introducing the disease to the Western World.
The Impact AID's has had on our world
"We cannot continue just to treat patients as they become infected," -- Dr. David Ho, AIDS researcher and Time magazine's 1996 "Man of the Year"
Financing the Battle against HIV/AIDS
What are scientists trying to do today?
Dramatic New Developments
- When Timothy Ray Brown, a HIV- positive patient, recieved a bone-marrow transplant in 2009, he became immune to the virus, and was symptom free in a short period of time.
- In March of 2013, a newborn that had become infected with HIV in its mother's womb was treated aggressively with antiretroviral drugs, starting during the second day of its life. When the mother stopped administering the drugs after 18 months, the child was still able to keep the virus in check, much to the surprise of her physicians.
- French researchers reported on 14 adult patients who were also treated very soon after they were infected. When they later discontinued the therapy, the virus remained unable to reproduce in dangerous amounts.