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HIV Type 1

HIV Type 1 (HIV-1) is a retrovirus responsible for the majority of HIV infections globally. It primarily spreads through contact with specific bodily fluids and targets CD4+ T cells and macrophages, impairing the immune system. Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) is the standard treatment, effectively suppressing viral replication and allowing those with HIV-1 to lead healthier lives. Despite ongoing research and prevention efforts, HIV Type 1 continues to pose a significant global health challenge.

HIV-1, an enveloped virus with a complex structure, has a genome consisting of two identical RNA strands that encode essential viral proteins: reverse transcriptase, integrase, and protease. It enters target cells by binding to the CD4 receptor and a co-receptor (CCR5 or CXCR4), triggering fusion with the host cell membrane. Once inside, viral RNA is reverse-transcribed into DNA by reverse transcriptase, which is integrated into the host genome by integrase, allowing persistent infection.

In terms of pathogenesis, HIV-1’s ability to evade the immune system is notable as it rapidly evolves, creating diverse viral strains within the host, avoiding immune detection. It primarily targets CD4+ T cells, critical for the immune response, resulting in immune dysfunction and vulnerability to opportunistic infections and cancers, marking the transition to AIDS.

For treatment, Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) effectively suppresses viral replication, allowing immune recovery. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is preventive for high-risk individuals. Vaccine development is challenged by the virus’s genetic variability, while the quest for a cure employs gene editing, latency-reversing agents, and immune-based strategies