By: Micah Keen

Background Information

  • HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus
  • the HIV virus causes the disease called AIDS, so you will often see it as HIV/AIDS
  • AIDS stands for the acquired immune deficiency syndrome
  • can be asymptomatic and spread the virus to other people

Symptoms of HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS causes symptoms such as:

  • lowered white blood cell count, due to your body trying to kill the virus, causing the victims of HIV/AIDS to get sick easier
  • mouth ulcers
  • aching in the muscles
  • rashes
  • fever and fever related symptoms such as:


*sore throat

*swollen lymph nodes (also due to your body trying to kill the virus because it is trying to make more white blood cells)



Causes of HIV/AIDS

You can get the HIV virus from other people, without either of you knowing, if the person is asymptomatic. This can happen in ways such as blood to blood contact, using and/or sharing a needle multiple times, unprotected sex, or a blood transfusion from some one infected with HIV/AIDS.

Immune Cells Involved With HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS specifically targets and attacks Helper T cells, which are the Natural Killer cells . Helper T cells signal B cells to tell them there is an intruder. When the HIV/AIDS virus attacks and kills the Helper T cells, it makes it hard for other cells to detect an intruder. A different kind of Helper T cells tries to get rid of the HIV/AIDS virus.

How HIV/AIDS Replicates

The HIV/AIDS virus is lysogenic, meaning it replicates using the lysogenic cycle, which includes the lytic cycle.
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The Lysogenic Cycle

  1. The said virus attaches to the host cell and injects it's genetic material, either DNA or RNA. In the case of the HIV/AIDS virus, it must be the first virus to attach to it's host white blood cell.
  2. The viral genetic material circularized, but there are no exposed DNA ends yet.
  3. The genetic material of the virus integrates itself in the host cell's chromosomes.
  4. The host cell then continues to reproduce normally, unknowingly copying the integrated genetic material of the virus and transmitting it to it's daughter cells.
  5. The cells infected with the viral genetic information keep reproducing to make many infected cells.
  6. When triggered. the viral genetic information exits the host cell's chromosomes to begin the lytic cycle.

The Lytic Cycle

  1. The said virus attaches to the host cell and injects it's genetic material.
  2. The viral genetic material circularized, but there are no exposed DNA ends yet.
  3. Viral DNA and proteins are newly made and synthesized.
  4. The host cell lyses, or, bursts open because there are so many viruses, releasing the viruses out to attack more cells and killing that host cell.
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HIV/AIDS Treatment

There is no cure that has been found yet for HIV/AIDS. There are certain antivirals that can be taken to address symptoms to a certain point, but there is no way to completely get rid of it. Many antivirals focus on stopping the virus's replication process.

HIV/AIDS Prevention

HIV/AIDS can be prevented by getting tested for it. Using clean needles and using them only once or sterilizing them before a second use is also a good idea. Also, to protect against HIV/AIDS, don't have unprotected sex of sex at all with someone who has it before checking up on it first, because HIV/AIDS is passed on easily during sex.
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