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The AIDS virus itself doesn't cause death. Explain what happens to cause death in an infected person.
Like all viruses, HIV is only interested in one thing: reproducing itself. Once it has attacked and moved into a T cell, it converts that cell into a miniature virus factory. [ Eventually there are so many new viruses in the cell that the T cell explodes, scattering the HIV back into the bloodstream. The virus then moves on to fresh T cells and repeats the process. Over time, HIV can destroy virtually all of an infected person's T cells in this manner. With fewer and fewer "leaders" to rely on for warnings, the "soldier" cells become powerless. They can no longer recognize and fight off
common organisms that would not present a problem to a healthy immune system. These organisms may be lying dormant in the body already, or may enter from outside. The immune system's weakness gives them the opportunity to wake up, multiply, and cause illness. Thus, we call these illnesses "opportunistic infections." People with fully functioning immune systems are almost never troubled by these particular infections - but those with damaged immune systems are highly vulnerable to them. ]
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Asked 10/11/2012 10:02:54 AM
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