Biology AIDS


`star` AIDS
`star` Transmission of HIV
`star` Life cycle of HIV
`star` Diagnosis and Treatment
`star` Prevention


● The word `color{Violet}"AIDS"` stands for `color{Brown}"Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome"`.

● This means `color{Violet}"deficiency of immune system"`, acquired during the lifetime of an individual indicating that it is not a `color{Violet}"congenital disease"`.

● `color{Brown}"Syndrome"` means a `color{Violet}"group of symptoms"`.

● AIDS was first reported in `color{Violet}"1981"` and in the last twenty-five years or so, it has spread all over the world killing more than `color{Violet}"25 million persons"`.

● AIDS is caused by the `color{Violet}"Human Immuno deficiency Virus"` (`color{Violet}"HIV"`), a member of a group of viruses called `color{Violet}"retrovirus"`, which have an envelope enclosing the `color{Violet}"RNA genome"` .


`color{Brown}"Transmission of HIV"`-infection generally occurs by:

● `color{Violet}"Sexual contact"` with infected person

● By `color{Violet}"transfusion"` of contaminated blood and blood products

● By `color{Violet}"sharing infected needles"` as in the case of intravenous drug abusers

● From `color{Violet}"infected mother"` to her child through placenta.

`color{Brown}"People at High Risk"`:

People who are at high risk of getting this infection includes -

● Individuals who have `color{Violet}"multiple sexual partners"`

● `color{Violet}"Drug addicts"` who take drugs `color{Violet}"intravenously"`

● Individuals who require `color{Violet}"repeated blood transfusions"`

● Children born to an `color{Violet}"HIV infected mother"`.

● It is important to note that HIV/AIDS is not spread by mere `color{Violet}"touch or physical contact"`; it spreads only through `color{Violet}"body fluids"`.

● It is, hence, imperative, for the `color{Violet}"physical and psychological well-being"`, that the HIV/AIDS infected persons are `color{Violet}"not isolated"` from family and society.


● There is always a `color{Violet}"time-lag"` between the `color{Violet}"infection"` and `color{Violet}"appearance"` of AIDS symptoms.

● This period may vary from a `color{Violet}"few months"` to many years (usually `color{Violet}"5-10 years"`).

● After getting into the body of the person, the virus enters into `color{Violet}"macrophages"` where RNA genome of the virus `color{Violet}"replicates"` to form `color{Violet}"viral DNA"` with the help of the enzyme `color{Violet}"reverse transcriptase"`.

● This viral DNA gets `color{Violet}"incorporated"` into host cell’s DNA and directs the infected cells to produce `color{Violet}"virus particles"`.

● The macrophages continue to `color{Violet}"produce virus"` and in this way acts like a `color{Violet}"HIV factory"`.

● Simultaneously, HIV enters into `color{Violet}"helper T-lymphocytes"` (`T_H`), replicates and produce `color{Violet}"progeny viruses"`.

● The progeny viruses released in the blood attack other `color{Violet}"helper T-lymphocytes"`.

● This is repeated leading to a `color{Violet}"progressive decrease"` in the number of helper `color{Violet}"T-lymphocytes"` in the body of the infected person.

● During this period, the person suffers from bouts of `color{Violet}"fever, diarrhoea"` and `color{Violet}"weight loss"`.

● Due to decrease in the number of `color{Violet}"helper T lymphocytes"`, the person starts suffering from `color{Violet}"infections"` that could have been otherwise overcome such as those due to bacteria especially `color{Violet}"Mycobacterium"`, viruses, fungi and even parasites like `color{Violet}"Toxoplasma"`.

● The patient becomes so `color{Violet}"immuno-deficient"` that he/she is unable to protect himself/herself against these `color{Violet}"infections"`.


● A widely used `color{Violet}"diagnostic test"` for AIDS is enzyme linked `color{Violet}"immuno-sorbent assay"` (ELISA).

● Treatment of AIDS with `color{Violet}"anti-retroviral drugs"` is only partially effective.

● They can only `color{Violet}"prolong the life"` of the patient but `color{Violet}"cannot prevent death"`, which is inevitable.


● As AIDS has no cure, `color{Violet}"prevention is the best"` option.

● Moreover, HIV infection, more often, spreads due to `color{Violet}"conscious behaviour patterns"` and is not something that happens `color{Violet}"inadvertently"`, like pneumonia or typhoid.

● Of course, infection in `color{Violet}"blood transfusion patients"`, `color{Violet}"new-borns"` (from mother) etc., may take place due to poor monitoring.

● The only excuse may be `color{Violet}"ignorance"` and it has been rightly said – `color{Brown}"don’t die of ignorance"`.

● In our country the `color{Violet}"National AIDS"` `color{Violet}"Control Organisation"` (NACO) and other non-governmental organisation (NGOs) are doing a lot to `color{Violet}"educate people"` about AIDS.

● `color{Violet}"WHO"` has started a number of programmes to `color{Violet}"prevent the spreading"` of HIV infection.

● Some such steps taken up are:

`star` Making `color{Violet}"blood"` (from blood banks) `color{Violet}"safe"` from HIV

`star` Ensuring the use of only `color{Violet}"disposable needles and syringes"` in public and private hospitals and clinics.

`star` Free distribution of `color{Violet}"condoms"`

`star` Controlling `color{Violet}"drug abuse"`

`star` Advocating `color{Violet}"safe sex"`

`star` Promoting `color{Violet}"regular check-ups"` for HIV in susceptible populations

● Infection with HIV or having AIDS is something that `color{Violet}"should not be hidden"` – since then, the `color{Violet}"infection may spread"` to many more people.

● HIV/AIDS-infected people `color{Violet}"need help"` and `color{Violet}"sympathy"` instead of being shunned by society.

● Unless society recognises it as a problem to be dealt with in a `color{Violet}"collective manner"` – the `color{Violet}"chances"` of wider spread of the disease `color{Violet}"increase manifold"`.

● It is a malady that can only be `color{Violet}"tackled"`, by the society and medical fraternity `color{Violet}"acting together"`, to prevent the spread of the disease.