Treating HIV

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  • Treating HIV
    • Illness
      • AIDS when symptoms of failing immune system appear/ helper T cell count drops below certain level
      • Develop diseases that wouldn't normally cause serious problems in healthy people
      • Usually 10 years between infection with HIV and development of AIDS
      • 1) Initial symptoms of AIDS produce minor infections of mucous membranes (inside nose, ears, genitals), recurring respiratory infection
      • 2) As AIDS progresses, number of immune system cells decreases further. Patients susceptible to more serious infections (chronic diarrhoea, severe bacterial infections, TB)
      • 3) Late stages of AIDS- very low number of immune system cells, can develop range of serious infections (toxoplasmosis of the brain, fungal respiratory infection)
      • Infections kill patient, not AIDS itself
    • Antibiotics
      • 1) Kill bacteria by interfering with metabolic reactions. Target bacterial enzymes and ribosomes used in these reactions
      • 2) Bacterial enzymes/ribosomes different from human enzymes/ribosomes. Antibiotics designed to only target bacterial cells and not damage human cells
      • 3) Viruses don't have own enzymes/ribosomes- use ones in hosts cells. Human viruses use human enzymes/ribosomes to replicate, antibiotics can't inhibit them because they don't target human processes
      • 4) Most antiviral drugs designed to target virus-specific enzymes e.g HIV uses reverse transcriptase to replicate. Human cells don't use this enzyme, so drugs can inhibit without affecting host cell (reverse transcriptase-inhibitors)
    • No cure
      • Currently no cure/vaccine for HIV. Antiviral drugs used to slow down progression of HIV/AIDS
      • Best way to reduce HIV is by reducing it's spread. HIV spread by unprotected sex through bodily fluids, HIV mother-foetus


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