Stopping the Cycle

Hiroaki Mitsuya of the NIH demonstrated that the drug AZT was able to inhibit the replication of retroviruses, the family of viruses that HIV belongs to, at least in laboratory cultures. Mitsuya believed that AZT could also be effective in human AIDS patients. AZT represents the first of a class of drugs known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). These drugs control HIV by interfering with the action of proteins essential to the virus's life cycle. Since HIV is a...

Onset of AIDS and Decline

No matter how strong an immune response the body mounts, most HIV-positive individuals can achieve only temporary control over the virus. The number of helper T cells that would normally aid in the production of antibodies to fight the infection gradually declines, weakening the immune response. This allows the virus to gain a stronger foothold in the body. The concentration of HIV in the blood increases, and subsequently more T cells are infected and killed. As the cycle continues, the...

Starting Point

In the 1980s, when scientists first began to search for a vaccine to prevent HIV infection, they approached the problem as they had for other diseases such as polio first cripple the virus, and then use the crippled virus to train the body's immune system to deal with the real infection. With polio, the crippled virus was inactive, and the vaccination was safe that is, there was no chance that the vaccination would cause the disease it was supposed to prevent. For the most part, scientists felt...

Works Consulted

Stoll, and Adetokunbo O. Lucas, Improving Birth Outcomes Meeting the Challenge in the Developing World. Washington, DC National Academies, 2003. One chapter of this book discusses strategies to reduce HIV transmission during birth. Tony Barnett and Alan Whiteside, AIDS in the Twenty-first Century Disease and Globalization. New York Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. This book examines the social and economic impact of the AIDS crisis and what lies ahead in the struggle against...

Drug Addicts Hemophiliacs and Children

The prediction turned out to be correct. As early as mid-1981, doctors had noticed symptoms in intravenous drug users that in hindsight were consistent with GRID. By early 1982, at least twenty-three heterosexuals, mostly intravenous drug users, were counted among GRID victims. Many scientists felt that the infections seen in intravenous drug users suggested that GRID could be spread through the blood as well as through sexual contact, and that it was more likely to have a viral cause. Since...

Organizations to Contact

NW Washington, DC 20036 (202) 530-8030 fax (202) 530-8031 www.aidsaction.org AIDS Action is composed of two distinct organizations the AIDS Action Council and the AIDS Action Foundation. Together, these organizations brief public officials and lobby lawmakers on AIDS-related issues and support medical research and education efforts about HIV AIDS. The David Geffen Center 611 S. Kingsley Dr. Los Angeles, CA 90005 (213) 201-1600 www.apla.org AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA)...

Notes

Jonsen and Jeff Stryker, eds., The Social Impact of AIDS in the United States. Washington, DC National Academy, 1993, p. 131. 2. Quoted in American Foundation for AIDS Research, Micro-bicides A New Weapon Against HIV, www.amfar.org. 3. David Ho, . . . And Will We Ever Cure AIDS Time, February 6, 2002. Chapter 1 The Origins of an Epidemic 4. Centers for Disease Control, Pneumocystis Pneumonia Los Angeles, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 5, 1981, pp. 250-52. 5....