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AIDS

virus blood effective cure

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), viral disease that compromises the body's immune system, leaving the victim susceptible to dangerous diseases and infections. The virus, known as HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), uses certain white blood cells, known as T-helper cells, as hosts and eventually destroys them. Those with AIDS are likely to suffer from Kaposi's sarcoma (a rare and usually fatal skin cancer), pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (a lung infection caused by parasites), chronic herpes simplex (a virus that can cause ulcerating anal and oral herpes), as well as infections that attack the bone marrow, liver, or brain. Early flu-like symptoms of AIDS are fatigue, fever, night sweats and chills, and weight loss. During the next stage, patients display symptoms specific to diseases that appear with the breakdown of the immune system. Later symptoms are likely to include skin lesions, shortness of breath, seizures, and mental disorientation. Those currently at highest risk of infection in the United States are intravenous drug users, prostitutes, hemophiliacs and others who have required repeated transfusion, and babies of infected women. Although AIDS used to be known as a disease which occurred primarily among homosexuals, AIDS can be contracted just as easily by heterosexuals. The virus is transmitted through blood and semen. Saliva, tears, and urine also contain the virus, but so far have not been found to be effective vectors. Preventive measures include avoiding sexual contact with those who are infected, using condoms, using only sterilized needles and not sharing them with anyone, and avoiding contact with blood or sores of those infected. The education of children and adults is an important preventive measure in the battle against the disease. There is at present no cure for AIDS, but since its detection in 1981, care of AIDS patients has improved. AZT (azidothymide) has proven the most effective drug to date in inhibiting the virus's ability to reproduce, but it is a retardant, not a cure, and its side effects can include anemia, dementia, and blindness. Research for effective treatment and cure continues. Since 1997, combination therapy is used in the struggle against AIDS. A cocktail of three drugs (AZT, 3TC, and Ritonavir), is able to remove the virus from the blood and lymph node tissue of previously untreated seropositive patients. The originator of this therapy is David Ho. The first positive results were presented in Amsterdam, in November 1997, by researchers of the Academic Medical Center. The therapy is expensive and hard, and must be maintained. If not, resistent virusses will develope. There are people who get into contact with the virus, but do not get ill for a long period of time, or not at all. In 1997 scientists stated that a defect of the CCR5 gene is the cause of this natural defense. As a result of this defect, the virus is not able to invade the T-cells. Other gene defects might have the same result.

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