HIV: What is it and why is it so scary?

Uploaded by anubis2814 on 08.04.2012

So first off what is HIV and why is it so scary? I’ve actually had a nutjob channel
called HIVanswer troll my page linking HIV testing to Dick Cheney saying I shouldn’t
have had the drugs. I wanted to talk about the side effects first but I need to get this
part out of the first I guess. In 1980, young mean from the gay district showed up with
Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), a respiratory disease that only shows up in comprimised
immune systems. Soon many had Kaposi's sarcoma which is a very rare skin cancer only present
in very old people. It became known as the Gay cancer, or AIDs acquired immune deficiency
syndrome. In 1983 two different teams discovered a retrovirus that was present in all AIDs
patients, and HIV was the name chosen as they both had competing names for the virus.
After that big efforts were made to raise awareness of the disease and it really turned
the gay community on it’s head, going from a extremely promiscuous community, probably
because they wouldn’t be accepted no matter what they did, to some of the biggest champions
of safe sex education. This shift which sadly killed off a lot of gays before their prime,
was also what helped make them more acceptable to the straight community and their causes
better understood. During the Reagan years, since AIDs was just a gay problem, getting
funding for it was like pulling teeth sadly. However we slowly got over that stigma especially
when Brain White got it in a transfusion and people began realizing that it was a straight
problem too. In the 90’s we made some great progress
in treatment thanks to this new raised awareness, and from that research our understanding of
genetics actually exploded. At this point HIV is now a long term treatable disease so
long as you have money to pay for it, which many Americans and most Africans don’t have.
So what is HIV and why is it so hard to treat. The central Dogma of biology states that DNA
gets transcribed to RNA by a protein called polymerase, Its where you see the A line up
with the T and the G line up with the C to make a Copy, although T is replaced with U
when it becomes RNA but that’s a deeper topic.
After that the RNA leaves the nuclear membrane and is translate into a protein strand by
an enzyme called a ribosomes, which using a lock and key like mechanism reads three
base pairs called a codon and adds an amino acid to the chain. Certain combinations of
base pairs tell the ribosome when to start reading and some tell when to stop. When the
protein chain is released it then folds itself up, many times into more enzymes, but the
structure is determined by the charge and bond forces on the chain. Temperature and
pH may change the structure as well. A mutation in the DNA or an error in the RNA can have
either a negligible change on the protein structure or it can turn it into something
completely new, like the enzyme nylonase that was a mutuation of some other enzyme that
through mutation in a fungus can now gain nutrients off of nylon.
For more information of the folding properties of protiens you can go to the game fold it
that actually helps scientists figure out how a certain protien chain will fold most
efficiently. So what does this have to do with HIV. Well
the central Dogma of DNA to RNA to protein was long held, no one ever thought that the
process could go backwards. Turns out HIV has something called reverse transcriptase.
It comes into the body as a strand of RNA and converts itself into DNA. Then it uses
an enzyme called a transposase, that commonly moves pieces of DNA called transposons in
your cells at random. This can lead to mutations. So it puts itself into your own DNA to hide
from your immune system not doing anything. A normal virus comes into your body, highjacks
your polymerase and/or ribosomes and uses them to copy itself until the cell runs out
of resources. Then it explodes and infects other cells. Usually after enough time the
immune system can catch the Infected cells, and tell it to kill itself. As HIV is just
hanging around as part of your DNA, it doesn’t get detected. Its not until that cell becomes
damaged that it begins attacking the cells and replicating. On top of that is also has
a nasty habit of entering your immune system and killing off your T helper cells and macrophages,
which are essential to the functions to killing off invaders. Immune cells are actually the
primary infected cells but there is also evidence that HIV hangs out in the gut cells and lays
low so the immune system is constantly playing cat and mouse.
What My drugs did for me was to deactivate reverse transcriptase so that the RNA virus
could not convert itself into DNA and stick itself into my chromosomes. It may also deactivate
other enzymes which is probably why I was so draggy and my immune system so hyperactive
when I took it. This is just one of a few drugs used by patients with HIV that they
have to take for the rest of their lives, but thanks to the drugs it can actually be
a long life, just with side effects. The fact that it hides so well is why its so hard and
at the moment near impossible to cure. I had someone ask if since I was taking the
drugs would it mask whether I had HIV or not in tests? No, HIV tests are actually not testing
for the virus what they are testing for is the specific anti-bodies your body is making
in response to the presence of the virus. At first your body can kill off infected cells
really well, but the cat and mouse game over time weakens the immune system to the point
that it can’t work anymore. I’m at the one and a half months mark and nothing has
shown up, at the 6 months mark where HIV anti-body would be at its highest I should be given
a clean bill of health. Its a bit unnerving but science and the odds are very much in
my favor. So lastly we ask, where did this disease come
from? Well, as far as we can tell this disease first transmitted from uncertain primate to
human in the 1920’s. Siv or Simian immunodeficiency virus exists through out the primate family.
A primate species usually is completely immune to their native strain through millenia of
weeding out the ones without resistance mechanisms. However when one SIV strain gets transmitted
to another primate, it becomes AIDs. And no we didn’t get HIV from sex with monkeys
even though that is the more scandelous version. We got it most likely from eating them. Someone
probably cut themselves while doing the butchering process, and blood to blood is the easiest
forms of transmission, why we took my accident so seriously. HIV is highest in gay men here
in the US, but it is highest in Heterosexuals in third world nations. The main reason is
because they have many other diseases like other STDs or infections that increase the
likelihood of transmission. Also rape being used as a weapon of terror is spreading it
even more. The pope of course a few years ago told the people of Africa that condoms
cause Aids, even though studies show that a protein in semen increases infection rate
by 20,000 times, pretty much attempting to condemn half a continent to death with misinformation..
Just like with any area of science, there are denialists and there are huge aids denialists
in positions of power, especially in african governments that want to have to spend less
money on helping people with HIV How do you avoid HIV? Never share a needle
no matter what. I know most of my viewers wont have a problem with this but just in
case, never let something that isn’t completely sterile penetrate your skin especially around
blood products. Of course we all get cuts, but unless there is other blood just some
peroxide and neosporin will work for that. Always use condom if you aren’t with someone
you haven’t been monogamous with more than 6 months and has not been tested. 6 months
is the time is takes for antibodies to build up, so save bareback for people you are with
for quite a while. While the infection rate for oral sex is a fraction of that of penetration
on men and even half that on women, its recommended that oral sex use barriers as well. Don’t
try and clean up body fluids without proper training. Bleach kills almost anything and
is used often in the cleanup of body fluids. I hope this helps some people better understand
HIV and the issues involved with it.