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AIDS Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is a disease caused by a virus- HIV Human Immunodiciency Virus The first cases in this country came to light in the early eighties Although the origins of AIDS remains uncertain it is thought to have started decades ago in sub-Saharan Africa There is a closely related virus Simian Immunodeficiency Virus or SIV that is found among monkeys in that particular area which AIDS is thought to have evolved from When the virus first emerged in the United States it was localized to the male homosexual and IV drug user communities This localization very quickly disappeared Today in America AIDS is a major problem This disease kills thousands every year AIDS is becoming a global epidemic No country is safe from it There has been AIDS cases reported around the world in such places as the Caribbean Southeast Asia Southeast Mediterranean and Oceania This helps to show that AIDS knows no geographical boundaries This disease has been likened to the Black Plaque that decimated Europe during the middle ages By April 1984 scientists had identified the virus responsible for AIDS and by March 1995 developed a blood test for it This quick progress in the battle even lead Heckler the secretary of health and human services to say that a cure was just a few years away Today no cure is available and no sure treatment for AIDS symptoms is at hand People are still contracting and dying from AIDS at an alarming rate AIDS is a fatal disease that does not kill the patient Its principle source of infection is the HIV virus which is a retrovirus This means that the protein coat contains RNA instead of DNA and whe n the virus injects its genetic material into the host cell it must first cause the cell to transcribe using a unique enzyme called reverse transcriptase it into complementary- DNA c-DNA before replication can occur The virus is spherical
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