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Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (Aids) Essay

4866 words - 19 pages

1.0 IntroductionThe topic for this paper is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), as it fits in well with all of the subjects being studied this semester. The nature of the disease lends itself perfectly to MD3002, Infection, Inflammation and Immunity, so this will be the major focus. How the virus infects the immune system, and the ways this affects the rest of the body will be outlined in detail. Minor focuses will be on MD3003 Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, where the drugs used to suppress HIV, and the ways in which they work will be outlined; MD3004, Preventive Medicine and addiction studies, which will tell the ways in which HIV infection can be prevented.2.0 OverviewThe sources of information for this essay were mostly from online journal articles, as well as from other reliable internet information sites. Information on the normal function of the immune system was derived from the textbook "Immunobiology - the immune system in health and disease" by Janeway, Travers, Walport, and Shlomchik.The article by Sleasman, J and Goodenow, M, on HIV-1 infection from the journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology was extremely informative, as it had some information on all major and minor focuses. It discussed how Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the cause of AIDS, is a retrovirus, and a lentivirus, and the way it replicates by changing its RNA genome into DNA, and inserting it into the host cells own DNA. It also discusses the effects of the virus on the CD4 T cells, and how this has a negative effect on the immune system, resulting in many kinds of opportunistic infections and cancers. This article also discusses the various types of antiretroviral drugs available, and the ways in these work to block parts of the HIV lifecycle, inhibiting replication. It also mentioned that the virus can become resistant to any one drug, so a number of drugs are usually used in conjunction with each other in highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART). As well as this, it discussed the ways in which infection with HIV can be prevented, and how there is no cure for the disease once one is infected.The article from "AIDS," volume 17, by Wood discussed how "survival rates following the initiation of antiretroviral therapy are dramatically improved among patients starting [therapy] with CD4 T cell counts below 200x106 cells per litre." It also suggests that, "inappropriate care of patients with advanced disease and patient non-adherence [to therapy] may be the strongest determinants of survival" It also states that "very high daily adherence is required, to achieve an undetectable plasma viral load, to prevent viral rebound, and to prevent the evolution of resistant virus."Another article from 'AIDS,' volume 17, by Weir, discusses possible ways of preventing HIV infection in areas where infection rates are high, such as Africa. It commented that "focussing on high risk or core groups, especially commercial sex workers" would be highly effective, as it...

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