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HIV is the causative organism for AIDS i.e. Acquired Immuno Deficiency Symndrome. HIV is a retrovirus and is of two forms. HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 has more virulence than HIV-2.(1)

People may get infected by the virus through several means. By the blood transfusion, mother to baby during pregnancy, by the sexual intercourse and use of needles that contain virus are the common modes of spreading of the disease. (2)

Cytotoxic T lymphocytes and CD4 cells stop the spreading of the virus within our body. (1)

The cells that are affected by the HIV will be killed by the cytotoxic T lymphocytes and these cells are involved in the production and liberation of the antiviral cytokines. (1)

Whenever the HIV enters the human body, the virus is capable of activating the reverse transcriptase enzyme. This enzyme is responsible for the conversion of the RNA present in the virus to DNA. Now this DNA gets mixed with human DNA. New viral particles will be generated and whenever the cells get ruptured these newly generated viral particles will enter the blood. (2)

During the initial stages of the infection, as the number of the viral particles increases the influenza like infection will occur and the virus particles will enter the lymphoid tissue. But there after because of the cytotoxic lymphocytes the viraemia will reduce. And there after the patient will not produce any symptoms and they will undergo the latent period. This period comes to an end as soon as the immunity of the hosts decreases and the symptoms will appear. As the immune system fails infections take place. Other symptoms include neurological diseases,bone marrow depression, cancers. (1)

Drugs used....... (3)

These include mainly anti retrovirals. These drugs cannot cure the disease. Just they can only increase the life period and will postpone the problems associated with the disease

They fall under the following three categories.

Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors: E.g Zidovudine, Lamivudine

Nonnucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors: e.g.Nevirapine

Retroviral Protease inhibitors: e.g. Ritonavir

"Prevention is better than cure...."

Its better to prevent AIDS since no proper cure is established until now. Blood should be properly tested before transfusing, needles should not used again and again and people should have safe sex. (2)


1. 1. Rang and Dales Pharmacology by Rang, Dale, ritter, moore, churchill livingstone publishers,6th edition, page no 681 to 684

2. 2. Essentials of Medical Physiology by K Sembulingam and Prema sembulingam, by Jaypee Publishers, 4th
edition page no 101

3. 3. Essentials of Medical pharmacology by KD Tripathi, 5th edition, Jaypee publishers, page no 728 to730

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About the Author

Siva Mavuduru's picture
Author: Siva Mavuduru


K Rajakrishna's picture

hello shiva, nice blog. Can you explain why hiv2 is more serious than hiv1. And can you explain how can hiv transmission from mother to baby can be prevented, specify the months limit till which this can be done. And why is that months limit fixed.
Siva Mavuduru's picture

Hi raja Thnak you coming to you question, HIV1 is more virulent than HIV2. and during pregnancy if the mother doesn't take the proper care there are chances of 25%infection to the child. if she takes the care the risk can be reduced to 2%. taking the appropriate treatment and checking the regular viral load levels decrease the chances of transmisson. and the use of zidovudine can reduce the risk. the treatment will be mostly based on the tests done, viral load. and if the mother is vomiting in the first three months than we have to stop the giving the drug as the continuation can produce strains that are resistant.

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