Why did HIV become a Problem?

in science •  last year

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Yesterday, I explained how viruses work and used HIV as an example. So of course I’m going to explain a bit more about this specific virus today.

Short summary of the stuff that should be generally known: HIV is transmitted via blood or other bodily fluids (even breastmilk!). In spit, the virus concentration is usually so low that it’s not dangerous. If the HI-virus is not suppressed with medication, AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is the result. It’s not the HI-virus that kills you, it’s the fact that your immune system breaks down and everything else kills you. @suesa


With that out of the way, let me introduce you to some information you might not have known.


Before there was HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), there was SIV (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus), which appeared in monkeys and apes. Humans ate those animals and while slaughtering them probably came in contact with their blood.

The SIV virus found itself in a foreign environment. The “choice” it had was to adapt or to die. In two cases, it adapted, giving us HIV-1 (derived from SIVcpz, usually found in chimpanzees) and HIV-2 (derived from SIVsm, usually found in mangabeys). The viruses changed enough to survive in a human body and attach to human T-lymphocytes.

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Now, how to treat HIV?


Once the virus has entered the cell, it integrates its own genome into the cell’s genome. This means that the cell can never be free of this virus again. So medication has to either prevent the virus from entering or prevent the virus from replicating once it has entered the cell.

Current therapies are trying exactly that. Some block the virus from entering the cell, some block its ability to translate the viral RNA into DNA, preventing it from integrating its genetic material into the host. Some block other important parts of the virus’ reproduction cycle.

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So why isn’t there a cure yet? Why are people still suffering?


The medication we already have is pretty effective already and people who have access to it can live a normal life, as long as they take their medications exactly as they’re told. HIV cannot be cured (yet), only be treated.

The virus mutates quickly, very quickly because it has no enzyme which corrects mistakes made in the replication of its genome (we have such an enzyme, making mutations less likely). The result is a virus that constantly changes its shape and constantly manages to avoid being neutralized by medication. It’s an ongoing battle.

HIV positive patients are usually given more than one kind of medication as a reaction to the frequent changes. If there was only one medication, several resistant mutant viruses would survive and spread. But attack the virus in two more ways and the mutation usually can’t happen fast enough.

But what about people who don’t have access? Well, they keep dying. About 8000 people every day.

What can we do about that? Not much. Those deaths happen mostly in poor countries where people don’t have access to or can’t afford healthcare. Prevention is in their case easier than treatment. But still not easy enough.

Even in richer countries, people aren’t as scared of HIV and AIDS anymore as they used to be. Sex without condoms has become more frequent because people forget that a condom doesn’t only protect you from becoming pregnant.

The anti baby pill will not protect you from HIV!

So people, everyone, be careful. HIV can be treated but a cure is still in the future.


Sources:

Lecture “HIV – AIDS” by Sigrun Smola


Scribbles by me, picture was taken from pixabay.com


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Great post Suesa! I especially like the pencil drawings. You do those yourself?

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Yes, I'm very talented :P

I am 53 and this is the literally the most straightforward description of HIV, what it is and how it proliferates or is impeded that I have ever seen. Thank you.

Good post with important information. If anyone is interested, research Jim Humble out. Here is some of his work on HIV: http://mmstestimonials.is/hiv

"Humans ate those animals and while slaughtering them probably came in contact with their blood."

Or some weirdo liked to have sex with monkeys :)

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Shhh. I wanted to avoid this possibility xD

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Blissful imagination shattered.

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personally i believe that this was the main cause :p

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people who love to have sex with a monkey means he's a nation and a descendant of a monkey, hehehe ....

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people who love to have sex with a monkey means he's a nation and a descendant of a monkey, hehehe ....

I hope one day there will be a cure. I had a friend who contracted the virus years ago and eventually died as a result. It is an awful virus and it tears family and friends apart psychologically as well as physically. People have forgotten about HIV and AIDS in recent years. It needs to be talked about more

HIV and Aids still remains the shameful topic in some parts of my country. Some people still blame witchcraft for it and in a place where religion sells more than anything, they choose prayers over ARVs.

Enlightening piece :)

HIV is one of the bio-weapon if I am nott mistaken.

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You are mistaken. Bioweapon implies that someone built it.

This is very interesting I had know idea that the combo of cocktails was meant to attack the virus on different levels. It is hard to believe that 8000 people a day still die from HIV.

great post @suesa, I'm a med student and I found this post pretty interesting and educative, thank you for that!!

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Happy to hear that! I can imagine that lectures for med students are even more boring sometimes than those for biology students.

First class content @suesa! I was shocked by the rate of deaths per day. Although i acknowledge that the cost of drugs includes the expensive research phase, I wish that these medications could become more accessibile to everyone. Call me naive, but i hope that one day there will be a way to put an end to big pharma speculation and immotivated differences in price from country to country.

Here is a patent that talks about cure of Aids
US5676977

If it cures then why it has not been made public ?

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How do you have access to it if it isn't public?

Then again, the link you provided leads to a 404 error.

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Search this US5676977 you will get patent

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Cool stuff, seems pretty public to me 🤷‍♀️

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Google patents is like another world, the world of truth. It is unbelieable what is out there and people still suffer. The YouTube video on HIV is shocking.

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And I used to think HIV is AIDS. Thank you

Great content bro.thanks for share with us about hiv.resteemd

do you think HIV was created from Monkey virus by human experimentation ?

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No. The most likely progression of events was that the HI-virus mutated enough to attack humans. Just like syphilis or influenza. It happens all the time, that's nature.

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thanks - good to know

I tried to understand the origin of HIV how it came it be, and i got to know the first case of HIV was confirmed to have been gotten through sexual intercourse, what if this virus was man made and was shared and was hoping one they'll find the cure and up till date they haven't or what if there is a cure already but they see as a means to control sex from our young once. I think there is still HIV cause it was meant to be.

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I don't buy into this kind of conspiracy theory. There are so many nasty viruses, why engineer one?

This is pretty great really you did very well job.

I didn't know that there was a virus called SIV but now I know, so I've learnt something new

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Mission successful :)

when I've read the title, I thought it's about how the higher-ups in government ignored HIV for too long when it first appeared.

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That's a problem too, yes but I don't like posting about politics :P

Just a thought : HIV does not make people dangerous to know, so you can shake their hands and give them a hug: Heaven knows they need it.

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Isn't that a princess Diana quote?

But yes, it's true.

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Yep, I really love how she challenged the 'belief' that HIV could be transmitted by touch !

I wonder if HIV will eventually adapt itself to be less dangerous. After all it is against the virus' own self preservation interests to kill its host however its disabling of the immune system is probably a strategy it uses remain in the body.

Great information.Many many thanks for share with us.Please share more better information.Best of luck.

Great !!!
We should take effective actions for its eradication.Especially in underdeveloped countries...

great post @suesa, I'm a med student and I found this post pretty interesting and educative, thank you for that!!

@suesa i like your way of explanation so i hope that your next post will be about the Interaction between HIV and SCD (Sickle Cell Disease) ;)

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I didn't know there was a connection between the two but looked it up, prompted by your comment. It looks interesting but I'd need to put some extra research in for the post and the current medical posts are actually an attempt to reduce research.
My semester started again and I need to focus on my lectures. Writing about those instead of writing my usual stories cuts research time significantly.

I'll keep your request in mind for a time when I'm less busy though!

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;) okey got you @suesa and good luck with your studies ☺

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Nice post i wished HIV has a cure

Really great post, thanks for taking the time and putting the hard work in.

I relearned something from you today. I am just wondering if AIDS had been existing or was it really manmade. That became a debate in our class during a discussion in Sociology.

@suesa ,more grease to your elbows..thanks for this informative post ..much love and keep steeming

Congratulations @suesa!
Your post was mentioned in the hit parade in the following category:

  • Pending payout - Ranked 7 with $ 132,64

Though there is effective treatment but we have learnt from childhood that prevention is better than cure. Obviously for AIDS, prevention is better than treatment So why not concentrate on preventing HIV spreading from host to host?

One of the most important media for such spreading is professional sex worker Screen them and take the measures of positive patient.

Though in our(my) religion(Islam) premarital or extramarital sex is punishable by law but we are far away from religion. Free mixing, free sex........all are contributing to happy HIV!

So... how far away are we from a cure?

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Speculations are a bit useless in my opinion. But I hope it's soon.

I did not know about the quick mutations, very interesting. So in theory if they were able to continuously sample the varieties of HIV in your body they might be able to target a vaccine and try to predict the mutations? Actually, is it possible that the immune system itself could identify and destroy the cells?

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Prediction of a mutation is basically impossible and continuously monitoring all HIV varieties in a body is a huge task. But medicine progresses, we will see what the future brings. I have a generally positive outlook knowing what has already been achieved.

That's a bummer that there are so many diseases that cannot be cured, only treated.