What is HIV AIDS – Full Form, Definition, History & Virus Classification

Presentation Notes Essay / Information on HIV AIDS Virus for Medical & Biology in words/ .pdf/. .doc


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (Full Form), commonly known by the initialism HIV, formerly known as HTLV-III and lymphadenopathy-associated virus, is a retrovirus that primarily infects vital components of the human immune system such as CD4+ T cells, macrophages and dendritic cells.

It also directly and indirectly destroys CD4+ T cells. As CD4+ T cells are required for the proper functioning of the immune system, when enough CD4+ T cells have been destroyed by HIV, the immune system functions poorly, leading to the syndrome known as AIDS. HIV also directly attacks organs, such as the kidneys, the heart and the brain leading to acute renal failure, cardiomyopathy, dementia and encephalopathy. Many of the problems faced by people infected with HIV result from failure of the immune system to protect from opportunistic infections and cancers.


The first indication of AIDS began in the summer of 1981, when reports came from New York and California (USA) of a sudden increase in the incidence of two very rare diseases – Kaposi’s Sarcoma & Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in young adults who  were homosexuals or addicted to heroin or other injected narcotics. They appeared to have lost their immune competence, rendering them vulnerable to overwhelming and fatal infections with relatively avirulent microorganisms, as well as to lymphoid and other malignancies. This condition was given the name Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Isolation of the etiological agent was first reported in 1983 by Luc Montagnier and collegues from Pasteur Institute, Paris. They isolated e retrovirus from a West African patient with persistent generalized lymphadenopathy, which is a manifestation of AIDS, and called it Lymphadenopathy Associated Virus (LAV). It produced lytic infection in the blood lymphocytes but could not be established in permanent cell lines. In 1984, Robert Gallo and collegues from the National Institutes of Health, USA, reported isolation of retroviruse from AIDS patients and called it ‘Human T Cell Lymphotropic Virus-III’ or HTLV-III. Retroviruses HTLV-I and II had already been associated with human T cell leukemia. Other similar isolates were reported from AIDS cases under different names such as AIDS- Related Virus (ARV) etc. Serological analysis and molecular cloning established the common origin of these viruses in spite of varying degrees of antigenic differences between isolates which had been given different names earlier. To resolve this nomenclatural confusion, the International Committee on Virus Nomenclature in 1986 decided on the generic name Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) for these viruses.


Group VI (ssRNA-RT)
Human immunodeficiency virus 1
Human immunodeficiency virus 2

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