Human Immunodeficiency Virus

By Henrik Karlsen

Identify the possible hosts of this virus, and where they were originally found.
• Before HIV there was something called SIV, which was exclusive to primates, until it was transferred from monkeys (specifically chimpanzees) to humans. It is presumed that humans contracted the HIV by hunters whom killed and then ate the infected chimpanzee effectively passing on the HIV virus. This is believed to have happened in Western Africa. Now there are countless human hosts bearing the deadly virus.

Describe the method of transmission and how we think it originally transferred to humans.
• As I mentioned before it is believed that the HIV-1 and HIV-2 virus were transferred from chimpanzees to hunters whom ate the infected animal. This is through a method called Zoonosis. Zoonosis being when a disease or virus is transferred from an animal to a human and vice versa. Another infamous example is the Swine-flu.

Obtain a picture or do an accurate drawing.

Describe the life cycle of this virus.
• There are six steps to the life cycle… • 1. Binding and fusion- HIV binds to a specific type of receptor and coreceptor called CD4. On the surface of the CDF there are these ‘locks’ that protect it, the virus breaks through it and fuses with the host cell releasing genetic material. 2. Reverse Transcription- An enzyme called ‘reverse transcriptase’ changes the DNA created by the virus so that the DNA of the host will except it. • 3. Integration- The virus’ genetic material enters the host’s nucleus and integrates itself within the host’s DNA with the help of the enzyme called ‘intergase’. The virus can now stay undetected for years on end. • 4. Transcription- The HIV virus creates more of it’s DNA, by using the Host as a ‘factory.’ • 5. Assembly- The HIV’s protein chain is cut into individual protein by an enzyme called protease. These protein come together to form another virus particle. • 6. Budding- The virus leaves the host cell, taking a bit of it’s cell membrane with it to cover the virus and help contain all the structures needed to bind to a new CD4 cell and the process continues on in another cell.

Determine where the life cycle can most easily be broken. Give reasons why you say so.
• I believe that the life cycle can be most easily broken right at the first two stage before reverse transcription. I believe this because after reverse transcription it is next to impossible to find as it is hidden. Also during the first couple of stages it is still outside the host therefor it can still be spotted.

Give a generalized progression of the disease caused by the virus.
• There are four different stages the disease’s progression. The first stage being acute primary infection, where the virus enters the bloodstream. The virus infects both CD4 and T cells, a uses them to rapidly spread throughout the body. With the only signs being that of a simple flu. In the next stage, the Immune system tries to combat the growing virus. This is to an extent successful as it manages to drastically reduce the HIV virus in the bloodstream. Then comes clinical latency, where the body will mostly show no symptoms for several years, as the HIV continues to produce in the lymphoid organs. The last stage is AIDS. At this point the immune system is so weak it can’t defend itself against the simplest of infections. Its here the patient is often diagnosed with AIDS along with a multiple of other infections that the body just can’t fight.

Give most of the pertinent symptoms that are associated with infection by the virus.
• Late Symptoms include; • Rapid weight loss • Recurring fever or profuse night sweat • Extreme and unexplained tiredness.

• Early Symptoms include;
• • • • Fever Tiredness Headaches Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck and the groin area.

Describe the history of the virus. Include the initial discovery, the hunt for the vector, significant breakthroughs in controlling it.
• The first reported case of HIV was in July 1981 in the bustling mega-city that is New-York city. Back then it was dubbed ‘Gay cancer’ as most cases were found amongst gay people, because they lived in small communities. I also like to think that people were looking for a scape-goat, and unfortunately the gay community served well, as they were already disliked by most of the society. The name was later changed to the more politically correct, ‘HIV’. Governments found out that the best way to tackle it is through education, and the widespread access to Condoms and antiretroviral medicine, though unfortunately that is still not being implemented in some countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

Describe the location (including the country of origin, climate and habitat) that the virus can be found in. Include a climate chart.
• Scientists today believe that HIV came from a specific kind of chimpanzee in Western Africa (as has been stated on numerous occasions) though according the NGO, ‘’, “Recent studies indicate that HIV may have jumped from monkeys to humans as far back as the late 1800s.” The HIV’s habitat is the host’s body. It thrives within people, and the original animals it infected. • As you can see on the map, WesternAfrica is mainly a tropical climate. (Indicated by the blue)

Explain how this virus can be controlled. How does/did this (the control) affect the communities affected by the virus – discuss economic, cultural or social implications.
• The virus can be greatly controlled by the use of Condoms and sticking to one life partner. Both of these methods being advertised and taught about in most countries. Unfortunately the use of Condoms are prohibited is some cultures and religions there fore it is important to practice one life partner if you are not using any form of contraceptive. Economically, countries are subsidizing or handing out free condoms to impoverished areas where the cannot be afforded. The UN funded NGO, ‘UNAID’ helps exponentially in efforts towards controlling HIV/AIDS. As I mentioned earlier, socially it is vital to educate the young about the dangers of practicing unprotected intercourse.

Explain briefly how an anti-retroviral works.
• An anti-retroviral works by attacking and destroying the virus cells. The medicine is not harmful to the host so there is no problem with the vaccine. It can kill the virus either inside or outside the body.

Pay special attention to the role of anti-retrovirals, How has the rolling out of these drugs affected society? Have attitudes changed? If so, how?
• I think that from the application of these antiretroviral drugs, many sufferers of HIV/AIDS can have a lot ore hope, I mean there has been cases of people on the drugs living as long as on HIV infected people. Not to mention that it was a big step in combating HIV and finding a cure once and for all does not seem too outlandish anymore.

• African Climate. 2008. Photograph. USA. • "Stages of HIV." Stages of HIV. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013. <>. • HIV Virus. 2013. Photograph. The J File, New York. • UNAID. "For Consumers." Antiretroviral Drugs Used in the Treatment of HIV Infection. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013. < dvocates/HIVandAIDSActivities/ucm118915.htm>. • Wethers, Mathew. "What Is HIV/AIDS?" What Is HIV/AIDS? N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013. • "What Is HIV/AIDS?" What Is HIV/AIDS? UNAIDS, n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013. <>.