HIV is the abbreviation for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, and describes a number of different kinds of viruses which attack the human immune system and which have been shown to cause Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
A minority of scientists (the most prominent of them probably being Kary Mullis) claim that there is no sufficient evidence that HIV really causes AIDS, and that the world has been (deliberately) mislead.
Patients today are given a rather complex regime of drugs which attack HIV at various stages in its life cycle. These are known as antiretroviral drugs. They include:
- Protease inhibitors (PIs) inhibit production of protease, an enzyme used directly by HIV, and so prevents virus replication.
- Reverse transcriptase inhibitorss (RTIs) inhibit production of reverse transcriptase, an enzyme HIV needs to reproduce. Lack of this enzyme prevents HIV from building RNA and DNA. They come in three forms:
There are many problems involved in establishing a course of treatment for HIV. Each effective drug comes with side effects, often serious and sometimes life-threatening in themselves. Common side effects include extreme nausea and diarrhea, liver damage and jaundice. Any treatment requires regular blood tests to test for continued efficacy (in terms of T-cell count and viral load), and liver function.
- External Links: http://www.virusmyth.net/aids/data/cfmullis.htm (Interview with Kary Mullis about HIV and AIDS)