HIV Definition and Meaning

According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

HIV types


Drawing of an HIV1 virus.

Identified by American scientists. Originally located on the east and west coasts of the United States, it is spread throughout the world.

It has a shorter incubation period.

It is divided into two groups: M (AH) O.

An important characteristic of HIV is its extreme genetic variability , which is why HIV-1 is part of a heterogeneous viral population that makes it difficult to understand some of its mechanisms of interaction between the virus and its host.

Under ideal, academic conditions, HIV is considered to be a spherical particle with a diameter between 80 and 110 nanometers. This particle has three concentric layers: the inner layer contains a truncated cone-shaped nucleoid made up of the RNA of the virus and the nucleoprotein with the enzymes.

The middle layer is the icosahedral nucleocapsid; the outer layer or envelope is a lipid bilayer derived from the host cell; consists of inserting gluco proteins of the virus consist of trimers gp120 (“gp” is short for glycoprotein) forming 72 projections and a high concentration of cellular proteins among which histocompatibility class I and II (HLA I and II).

HIV-1 life cycle

Through some of the known transmission mechanisms, HIV-1 enters the body and reaches the lymphoid cells. There are two types of human cells that are the main targets of HIV infection, CD4 T lymphocytes and macrophages in tissues. As a consequence of the arrival at the target cells, a set of processes are set in motion with the purpose of causing the virus to enter the cell and the use of its biochemical mechanisms to be able to replicate and give rise to new viruses.

The set of phenomena that occur is known as the biological or life cycle of HIV and the intimate mechanisms that compose it present an enormous complexity of interactions between the virus and its host that are not fully known at present and are presented in a schematic way in the drawing.

For HIV to enter the cell, the fusion of the viral and cell membranes must occur. The entry of HIV-1 into the cell occurs through the interaction of the virus with at least two types of receptors. The specific receptor common to all HIV-1 is a protein found on the surface of target cells called the CD4 molecule.

This CD4 molecule (not to be confused with the CD4 lymphocyte) is believed to be specific and efficient and that the affinity of viral gp120 for CD4 is greater than its affinity for its natural ligand, a molecule of the major histocompatibility complex class II..

The main cells that possess this receptor are lymphocytes and monocytes / macrophages (CD4 +), although other cell types can be infected by HIV in vitro and not all of them possess the CD4 (CD4-) molecule. CD8 lymphocytes do not express the CD4 receptor under normal conditions, but it is known that after infection with certain viruses such as HHV-6, they can express it.


Apparently older than HIV 1. Originally located in East Africa. It is found in West Africa. Longer incubation period is divided into four subtypes (ABCE).



The period from when the individual is infected until the first symptoms of immunodeficiency appear.

Internal structure of the HIV virus.


The interval that elapses from when the individual is infected until detectable antibody titers appear by laboratory studies. This period can last from 30 days to 6 months and on average 6 to 8 weeks.

The periods of greatest HIV transmissibility are those of greatest viremia (contraction of virus in the blood) and correspond to the onset of infection (window period) and the phase of illness (AIDS).

Where does it come from?

Is it a mutation ? A mutation would have caused an increase in the pathogenic power of the virus; the simultaneous mutation of two viruses (HIV 1 and HIV 2) with somewhat distant genetic codes is difficult to accept.

Has it been artificially produced by man? The first cases of AIDS were found in the seventies, at this time it was probably not possible to carry out genetic manipulations.

The hypothesis remains that a virus circumscribed in an isolated place would have spread as a result of life changes (international travel, sexual liberalization, widespread access to blood transfusions, shared use of needles and syringes) and, perhaps, would have become more active.

HIV positive

When a subject presents antibodies against the AIDS virus, they are said to be seropositive. Seropositivity only indicates that the subject has come into contact with HIV and is infected by it, so it must be considered a carrier of the virus and therefore can transmit it to other people.

However, seropositivity does not indicate that you have AIDS or predict the progression to the disease. All HIV-positive subjects probably remain infected for life; Therefore, you must take precautions that reduce the risks of progression to AIDS and prevent other people from being exposed to the virus.

Avoid transmission

An HIV-positive person can infect others through their blood and sexual secretions, so you must take effective measures to avoid spreading AIDS to others.

How can it be avoided?

  1. Not donating blood, organs, tissues, or semen.
  2. Informing sexual partners of their status of seropositivity and in case of having sexual relations, avoiding penetration and if there is penetration using latex condoms.
  3. Not sharing drug preparation and injection utensils.
  4. Informing doctors, dentists, acupuncturists, etc. to use disposable items, sterilize their material and take adequate protection measures.
  5. Avoiding pregnancy since there is a risk of transmission to the fetus.
  6. Cleaning all blood-stained surfaces with bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water: leave on for at least 30 minutes).
  7. Washing clothes stained with blood or sexual secretions at high temperature, dry or with bleach.
  8. Not sharing personal hygiene utensils that can come into contact with blood, such as toothbrushes, razors and blades, scissors and other sharp objects.
  9. Covering wounds and scratches with a dressing until they heal.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus HIV

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