HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS 2013 HIV Primer and Update
Volume 26 Number 2
By Frank Hubbell, DO
HIV continues to be one of the most important infectious diseases that we have to contend with around the world. Even though it is under better control and there exists improved treatment modalities, it still remains a very important source of mortality and morbidity in both the developed nations and the developing nations.
This article is a concise review and primer of HIV, an update of the treatment modalities currently available in the fight against HIV, and a simple reminder of the remarkable negative influence that it still has around the world.
What is HIV?
HIV is short for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a RNA retrovirus that invades and destroys the T Helper cells of our immune system. This destruction of the T helper cells causes a progressive failure of the immune system, leading to susceptibility to opportunistic infections and generally death secondary to these opportunistic infections. Opportunistic infections are infections that would not normally be able to overcome our immune defenses.