H IV /A ID S
As HIV reproduces, the virus slowly
destroys the body's T cells.
Main symptoms of AIDS
Initially, HIV-infected patients exhibit flu-like
symptoms, including the following:
• Sore throat
• Joint pain
• Swollen lymph nodes
• Night sweats (50% of cases)
When HIV progresses to AIDS, patients become
susceptible to many opportunistic infections,
tumors, and dementia.
• Chronic diarrhea
slowly destroys the body’s T cells as it reproduces.
T cell count
• — •
Acute HIV syndrome
Wide distribution of virus
Seeding of lymphoid organs
HIV RNA copies
per ml plasma
Treatment of HIV
There is no cure for HIV/AIDS, but two categories of drugs help
extend the lives of many HIV-infected people:
1. Reverse transcriptase inhibitors block the action of HIV’s
reverse transcriptase enzyme from making DNA copies of the
viral RNA. These drugs include zidovudine (ZDV, previously
AZT), didansoine (ddl), and stavudine (d4T). Trizivir is a
combination of three reverse transcriptase inhibitors.
2. Protease inhibitors block the actions of HIV’s protease, which
cuts host proteins into pieces to assemble the coat of new HIV
virus particles. Protease inhibitors include nelfinavir, saquina-
vir, ritinovir, and indinavir.
Highly active antiretroviral
is an effective but
expensive combination of two different reverse transcriptase
inhibitors and one protease inhibitor.