"In the end only kindness matters." --Jewel Kilcher, "Hands", from her album, SPIRIT
What is HIV and AIDS?
HIV--the human immunodeficiency virus--is the virus that causes AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Viruses have no cells nor DNA. Since cells, formed by DNA, are the basic unit of life, viruses are not "alive", so they use the living cells of their "hosts" to feed themselves. They then inject their own RNA into the host cells & reproduce.
Part of the human body's defense mechanism, our immune system, consists of white blood cells attacking foreign bodies, such as viruses and bacteria roaming in our blood stream. T-cells are called "killer cells" because they attach themselves to foreign bodies and send out protein messages to other blood components which then engulf, or swallow the invaders. (That's one of the reasons why body parts swell up when there is an infection present.)
HIV is tiny. It attaches itself to certain T-cells, called "CD-4" cells. The CD-4 T-cells become "factories", reproducing the virus infinitely. The new viruses then attack other CD-4 cells until there are few or none, though the body keeps making them.
Once CD-4 cell counts lessen, people who are HIV+ may become people living with AIDS. Although it is said people die of AIDS, it is more correct to say they die from its complications. AIDS is usually a combination of problems. HIV causes immunodeficiency of the body, but it is infections by bacteria, other viruses, molds and even algae, which weaken the body. People with AIDS cannot fight them properly. They are susceptible and it's difficult to get rid of even common colds.
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A Christian Response to AIDS
How Is HIV Transmitted?
What the Bible Teaches
What Can Christians Do?
AIDS Research Source Page
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