The Pathogenesis of HIV Analyzed

Subject: Immunology
Pages: 2
Words: 289
Reading time:
< 1 min

The HIV virus only becomes effective upon the entry into the human body, normally through blood infection upon contact with infected blood. Upon entry, HIV targets the host T-Cells or primary lymphocytes. The T-Cells defend one’s body from common but potentially fatal infections. The HIV virus attaches itself to the membrane of a T-Cell or lymphocyte, where it injects its RNA into the cell. The RNA proceeds to the DNA of the cell and instructs the seized cell to produce RNA supplements that will enable it to exist within the cell. It does this using the DNA material from the cell membrane to manipulate the host cell into compliance. Consequently, the DNA produces two strands of RNA in reflection of the intruding RN. The cell is thus infected.

The patient becomes infectious upon the occurrence of the Acute Retroviral Syndrome (ARS), whose symptoms include fevers or chills, night sweats, and rashes, among others. However, about 30% of people infected with HIV do not portray these symptoms. At this stage (6-12 weeks), HIV may be diagnosed because of the presence of antibodies (seroconversion).

The asymptomatic stage follows. It can last for months or years. The patient looks and feels normal, although HIV is actively attacking the immune system. The only symptoms portrayed may be swollen lymph nodes, among others, which cannot be categorized as being strictly HIV symptoms since they are intermittent. A sub-stage of stage II is the ‘Early to Medium’ stage, where illnesses occur even though the patient has not been diagnosed with AIDS. AIDS is the final stage that is diagnosed when the CD4 count is below 200mm3 or after the first occurrence of an opportunistic infection.