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Surviving AIDS

Program Overview


NOVA follows AIDS researchers studying the immune systems of people who have been infected with or exposed to HIV but remain disease-free.

The program:

  • outlines how AIDS infects the body by invading and disabling the body's first line of defense—helper T cells—so that they can't signal killer T cells to destroy the virus.

  • relates that most efforts to combat the disease have focused on a vaccine or powerful combinations of drugs that stop HIV from replicating in the body.

  • describes the finding that some individuals who have been exposed to HIV but are virus-free have a genetic mutation in which one of two receptors necessary for HIV to bind to and invade cells is missing.

  • notes the effectiveness of aggressive treatment in the disease's first stages of infection.

  • tells about new methods of treatment for infants with the disease.

  • shows what happens when a patient—whose early treatment lowered his viral load—stops treatment altogether.

Teacher's Guide
Surviving AIDS
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