Was HIV isolated?

George Munson george-munson at nwu.edu
Sun Apr 6 09:47:40 EST 1997

In article <33468546.0 at news.ctv.es>, c.c.portela at ieee.org (Carlos Costa
Portela) wrote:

> Hello all!
> I post you weeks ago this message in the virology group, but this is a
more active one.
> At the first time, I must say you that my virology knowledgments are
worse than my English knowldg.
> I have read in the Net that the HIV isn't isolated. This person says: in
another diseases, we can

You are getting wrong information! 
HIV was first isolated in 1983 separately by the Robert Gallo lab at the
U.S. National Institutes of Health and Luc Montagnier lab at France's
Pasteur Institute. Initially various groups gave the virus different
names: human T cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV) III,
lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV), and AIDS-associated retrovirus
(ARV). The officially recognized name is now human immunodeficiency virus
(HIV), and considerable evidence demonstrates that it is indeed the
causative agent for AIDS

Your confusion may come from the fact that there are many oppurtunistic
diseases associated with AIDS because the immune system is degraded by
HIV: Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, which is frequently the first
infection to occur and is the most common cause of death. Other infections
include the parasites Toxoplasma gondii and Cryptosporidiosis; fungi such
as Candida   and Cryptococcus; mycobacteria such as Mycobacterium avium,
intracellulare, and tuberculosis; and viruses such as cytomegalovirus and
herpes simplex and zoster. Increased susceptibility to bacterial infection
is noted particularly among children with AIDS. AIDS patients may also
develop rare caners: Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and
Hodgkin's disease. 

To oversimplify: the cause of death is generally due to one or more of
these secondary diseases. Technically, you could survive without an immune
system if you weren't exposed to other pathogens therefor HIV is not
necessarily lethal. In the real world, the degradation of the immune
system by HIV leaves the body open to attack by any number of pathogens.
This has lead a FEW people to argue that HIV is not equivalent to AIDS and
that HIV and AIDS are not necessarily linked. In my opinion, these people
are confusing the issue but their arguements do force discussion and
people to at least consider alternative issues. To some degree that is
useful but at the point when it confuses lay persons it can become
destructive. Especially if a person becomes convinced that they have
nothing to fear from HIV and ignore the precautions to avoid contracting

I suggest you seek better sources of information other than Newsgroups.
Try finding the Center for Disease Control Web site. They provide
excellent information and many links to other sites.
George Munson
BMBCB, Northwestern University
Evanston, IL   USA   
george-munson at nwu.edu

More information about the Microbio mailing list