AIDS: structure, replication and spread of the AIDS virus

Richard A. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to specialist publication or newspaperArticle


AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)was first, described as a new disease of humans in 1981. The origins of the disease are controversial. AIDS is caused by a retrovirus, a type of virus which rarely attacks human cells. The first virus of this type recorded in humans is reponsible for a type of leukaemia and was identified in 1978. AIDS is thus the third type of human retrovirus to be discovered and hence, is referred to as T-lymphotrophic virus III (HTLV-III). For viruses to replicate, they have to invade a host cell which in this case is a T4-lymphocyte, a type of white blood cell that regulates the immune system. The problems of the disease result directly from the death of these cells. As a consequence, the immune system is compromised leading to a number of opportunistic secondary infections and other disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Specialist publicationOptometry Today
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1993


  • AIDS
  • leukaemia
  • immune system
  • secondary infections
  • disorder


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