AIDS

AIDS

AIDS

AIDS

Synopsis

In AIDS, a doctor and medical researcher explores the evolution of the HIV epidemic, contextualizing the disease from historical, social, and medical perspectives. Addressing the last 25 years, the book examines basic biological principles, including what a virus is, how the human immune system works, and how HIV impairs these functions. It presents an in-depth discussion of the HIV life cycle and explores central issues pertaining to diagnosis and treatment. The book also reviews global epidemiology of HIV/AIDS and principles of transmission, as well as what comprises an epidemic and the factors that determine whether an infectious outbreak will propagate or die out. Finally, it looks at where HIV came from; early reactions to the disease and the social stigma it engendered; the cultural impact of HIV-positive role models; and the global economic, population, and political effects of this illness.

Excerpt

Imagine the surprise and fear of doctors and patients faced with a new deadly illness of unknown cause. AIDS hit the medical community by storm, taking the lives of many people before it was recognized, identified, and named. Since that time, remarkable scientific discovery, dedicated care, activism, and courage have changed the shape of HIV—from a death sentence to the serious but manageable illness we know today.

Like few other illnesses, the AIDS story features a dramatic intersection of history, science, medicine, and society. In this book, we explore each of these perspectives, providing a broad understanding of HIV and AIDS. We start with a look back to the disease’s early roots, exploring this new illness from the lens of patients and doctors who encountered it for the first time. Then we review the basic biology of HIV, including its viral structure and modes of replication. You will learn about the elegant way in which HIV—an incredibly simple yet effective infectious element—invades our immune cells. After discovering how HIV takes over our cellular machinery, we discuss its clever mechanisms for evading the immune system and eluding medications, and the great challenge it has posed to effective vaccine development. From there, we discuss the spread and impact of HIV, by studying the epidemiology of this global epidemic. We’ll review . . .

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