Biology - HIV Prevention and Transmission

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Biology Essay

HIV Prevention and Transmission


Student: Aleksandar Bukurecki                                                                        Teacher: Elvira Kukuljac

Sarajevo, 19/10/11

        Viruses are unique in that they have been classified as both living and nonliving, the reason for this is that they cannot reproduce without a host cell. Also they are acellular, which mean they don’t have cells. There are many different viruses, our body can fight most of the viruses but there are some that we cannot even fight with medics. HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is one of those.

        We still don’t know how HIV evolved but there are a number of theories. One thing we know is that HIV probably evolved in Africa. The most commonly accepted theory is the “hunter theory”. The SIV, Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, was transferred to humans as a result of chimps being killed and eaten, or their blood getting into cuts or wounds on a hunter. Normally a hunter’s body could have fought off the SIV, but in a few cases it adapted to its new human host and evolved into HIV. The Contaminated Needle Theory is an extension to this hunter theory. In Africa the enormous amount of needles needed to give inoculations and other medication would have been very costly. It is likely that one syringe would have been used to give multiple people injections without sterilizing the needle. This resulted in spreading HIV rapidly. One very interesting theory is the conspiracy theory, a significant number of African Americans believe that HIV was invented as part of a biological warfare program designed to wipe out large numbers of African Americans and Homosexuals. As we can see most of these theories claim that HIV evolved in Africa. However, none of these theories are 100% true and it is impossible to trace the source of HIV because it probably evolved years before we first identified the virus in 1959. Uncontrolled blood transfusion, drugs and travel all helped HIV spread all over the world.

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        Now let’s see how HIV attacks our cells. The structure of HIV consists of three main parts, the genetic material, proteins and the envelope. The replication of HIV consists of a few steps. First is the fusion with the host cell, then HIV releases the viral proteins into the host cell and the reverse transcription starts, which mean the RNA from HIV is used to create the viral DNA, the reverse transcriptase enzyme does this. That viral DNA is then transported to the nucleus and is attached to the host DNA. Now the host cell crates new viral RNA which ...

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