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HIV virus, AIDS, and what it means to you!

By: Andrew Pham

Tables of Contents
Introduction p.3 What is an HIV virus? The HIV virus p.4 What does the HIV virus do? HIVs evil plan p.5 What happens if I get HIV? Symptoms of HIV p.6 What can I do once I get HIV? Treatment

Can I stop it? Prevention p.8 Am I safe? Risk Areas and Groups p. 9

Sickness walks among us. All types of pathogens fungi, bacteria, viruses, and microorganisms, and there is one deadly virus everyone should know about, HIV. By reading this you will be able to better protect yourself from such an evil pathogen, you will learn what it is, how it works, and more importantly what it does to you and how you can protect yourself. This knowledge will only be a small piece in your arsenal against the spread of this wild disease, whether or not you choose to use it.

The HIV Virus

Viruses work like an alien invasion. Normal viruses like influenza and West Nile virus take control of your bodys cells and force it to clone more of itself by injecting their DNA (material used to make up your bodys cells), using up valuable resources, and letting it spread throughout the body. The HIV virus, otherwise known as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus is part of the Retrovirus family a rare and evil breed of viruses. Retroviruses hold a deadly army of reverse transcriptase enzymes and RNA. It holds it within its capsid walls, viral envelope, and surrounds itself with many glycoproteins.

HIVs Evil Plan

HIV is on a diabolical mission, to inject you with its RNA and stop your body from making cells to fight off infections causing AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). By having its glycoproteins binding to helper T cells (cells that help your body make other cells to fight off infections), the viral envelope fuses with the cells own envelope. This boarding process breaks down the capsid wall, releasing the troops of RNA and reverse transcriptase into the cell. Reverse transcriptase helps with the synthesis of RNA into DNA, and once its DNA the T cell is infected and brainwashed into making more of viruses. After one cell is taken over, the invasion begins as it takes over a couple more cells, then a few, and soon your whole body.
HIV works in a similar way to stormtroopers from Star Wars, they all look the same, they invade and replicate, and they cause massive destruction

Symptoms of HIV

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Once the HIV virus has started its invasion you might experience the following:
Extreme Fatigue Intermittent Fever (on and off fever) Night Sweats Lymphadenopathy (Enlarged lymphnodes, the area on the side of your neck where you can feel your pulse) Enlarged spleen Anorexia and consequent weight loss Severe diarrhea Apathy/Depression Overall, once you are infected with HIV, AIDS will develop after an average of 10 years and you will be susceptible to any type of infection from any other disease.


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Treatment of the virus is primarily aimed at the symptoms of the infection. Some drugs are aimed at stopping reverse transcriptase from synthesizing RNA, therefore stopping it from spreading and others produce noninfectious HIV particles. These type of drugs are used in combinations called cocktails. If a person has AIDS, vaccines will be given to them in order to help their destroyed immune system to fight off infections.

Wait, why not use antibiotics?

While most diseases are fought with antibiotics, viruses like HIV cant be treated with them. This is because antibiotics interfere with the processes of bacterium, but because viruses use our bodies cells to infect us antibiotics wont work.


Ok, so youve read so far that there is no strong way to fight HIV and once youve got it, you got it for good. But what can you do to not get it? HIV isnt spread through the air, so you cant get it by breathing or getting coughed on. HIV can only be spread through bodily fluids like blood or reproductive organ secretions (semen, vaginal fluid, pre-ejaculation fluid, breast milk). This means you should always use a condom during sexual intercourse to have a protective barrier between you and your partners fluids from entering your body. If you use drugs that involve needles, never share needles and seek help for drug addictions. If you know you have HIV, inform your partner that you have it so they can get themselves checked and take precautionary measures. Finally, if you have it and are pregnant seek help from your doctor so they can inform you of what you can do to try and prevent your child from contracting the virus.

Areas and groups at risk

Sexually active people who perform in unprotected sex and consistent drug users with needles and syringes are at most risk for contracting HIV. Areas such as Southern Africa are at a huge risk of contracting HIV because of the inactive use of condoms during sexual intercourse. The HIV epidemic in Africa has decreased the life expectancy rate making the average life of adults 54.4 years, infected people need special care that cannot be met due to financial and technological needs. If a familys head of the house has HIV, once they die their child will be left alone only to be taken care of by extended family members. The spread of the virus has put a strain on the health care facilities, schools, and labor work. This slows down the progression of the Southern African region

. "HIV/AIDS." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), 20 Oct 2011. Web. 22 Jan 2012. <>. . "HIV and AIDS in Afirca." Avert. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Jan 2012. <>. Campbell, N. Biology ap edition. 7th. San Francisco, CA: Pearson Education, Inc., 2005. Print. Mosby, First, and First Inc. Mosby\'s dictionary of medicine, nursing and health professions. 8. St. Louis, MO: Mosby Inc, 2009. Reddy, Vinay. "Antibiotics, Bacteria and (usually not) Viruses." Dr. Redd'ys Pediatric Office on the Web. N.p., 01 Sep 2011. Web. 22 Jan 2012. <>.