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Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), types I and II, are the only members of the lentiretroviridae group to cause human disease. A closely related virus, simian immunodeficiency virus, is thought to be the progenitor of HIV.

HIV specifically infects cells displaying the CD4 antigen, including T-helper cells and antigen presenting cells. There is no latent stage in the HIV life-cycle and chronic high-level replication results in steady destruction of the immune system.

It is estimated that about 30 million people are HIV+ve world wide and more than 3 million have AIDS

  • majority are women and children in sub-Sarahan Africa

By the end of 2008 there were an estimated 83,000 HIV patients in the UK (equal to 1.3 people per 1,000 population in the UK) with quarter (27%) of patients unaware of their infection (1)

Over the past decade, deaths among HIV infected individuals have been stable with a decline in the number of AIDS diagnoses - in 2008, 525 deaths occurred (387 men and 138 women) (1).


  • (1) Health Protection Agency (HPA) 2009. HIV in the United Kingdom: 2009 Report.



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