Chapter 11 : AIDS: the 21st Century Plague

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Two laboratories—one in France headed by Luc Montagnier and one at the National Institutes of Health in the United States headed by Robert Gallo—identified a virus that was named human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV) III by Gallo and lymphadenopathy virus (LAV) by Montagnier. The virus was found in tissues of patients with AIDS. Today both are recognized to be the same virus. The virus was renamed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and the disease complex it produced was called acquired immunodeficiency disease syndrome (AIDS). HIV is able to cause AIDS because it can infect and destroy the white blood cells critical to the normal functioning of the immune system. In addition, severe athlete’s foot and white patches on the tongue, due to Epstein-Barr virus, can occur. Once these symptoms appear, the person is said to have AIDS-related complex (ARC). HIV-2 is less pathogenic than HIV-1, and individuals infected with HIV-2 are less at risk for developing AIDS. The most commonly used drug, azidothymidine (AZT), delays the onset of AIDS by inhibiting viral multiplication. The modern plague of AIDS will continue to rise in the coming years as a result of infections that have already occurred, and it will decimate the ranks of the young men and women who are in their most productive years. Today, the modern plague of AIDS is a forceful reminder that the global impact of infectious disease is yet to be blunted.

Citation: Sherman I. 2007. AIDS: the 21st Century Plague, p 174-194. In Twelve Diseases That Changed Our World. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816346.ch11
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