This website is intended for healthcare professionals


Human immunodeficiency virus: Past, present and future

Ian Peate looks at how efforts to combat the spread of HIV have progressed over the last 40 years

Efforts to treat and eradicate Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) remain elusive. Over 30 years after HIV-1 was identified, HIV remains an ongoing medical issue.

What is HIV?

HIV is a retrovirus that is unable to self-replicate, but infects and uses human CD4 T cells replicating to spread throughout the body. Over time, HIV particles destroy CD4 T cells, reducing an individual’s ability to fight pathogens, leaving the person vulnerable to opportunistic infections.

Those who develop several such infections are experiencing the most advanced stage of HIV and are diagnosed with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Whilst there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, treatments have been developed, so that the majority of people with HIV never progress to developing AIDS. See box 1.

Register now for access

Thank you for visiting Independent Nurse and reading some of our premium content. To read more, please register today. 


Already have an account? Sign in here