How AIDS Works

Lots More Information

Author's Note: How AIDS Works

When I was in high school in the 1980s, AIDS was the boogeyman. As a shared national anxiety, it loomed as large as nuclear Armageddon. While in university in the early 1990s I befriended a returning student who'd lost all of his close friends and lovers to AIDS in the previous decade. But then things changed. While living in San Francisco in the mid-1990s I met a young man who was dying of AIDS. Emaciated and pale, he looked desperately ill. I thought I would probably never see him again. A few months later an energetic young person bounded up to me on the sidewalk and shook my hand, reminding me that we'd already met. It was the same person who'd been dying. His doctor had put him on the new antiretroviral therapy, and it had saved his life. – O.C.

Related Articles

More Great Links


  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "HIV/AIDS." (Nov. 10, 2015)
  • Chan, David C. et al. "Core Structure of gp41 from the HIV Envelope Glycoprotein." Cell. Vol. 89. Pages 263-273. April 18, 1997. (Nov. 12, 2015)
  • Fiorentini, S. et al. "Functions of the HIV-1 Matrix Protein p17." New Microbiology. Jan. 29, 2006. (1):1-10. (Nov. 19, 2015)
  • Groopman, Jerome. "Can AIDS Be Cured?" The New Yorker. Dec. 22, 2014. (Nov. 9, 2015)
  • "HIV Transmission." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Jan. 16, 2015. (Nov. 17, 2015)
  • Lu, Kun et al. "Structural Determinants and Mechanism of HIV-1 Genome Packaging." Journal of Molecular Biology. Vol. 410, No. 4. Pages 609-633. July 22, 2012. (Nov. 9 2015).
  • Lynch, Stephen. "How the AIDS Epidemic Really Began." New York Post. Feb. 22, 2015. (Nov. 9, 2015)
  • "Man With HIV May Have Infected Partner With a Kiss." CNN. July 10, 1997. (Nov. 17, 2015)
  • McNeil, Donald G. "New Approach to Blocking H.I.V. Raises Hopes for an AIDS Vaccine." The New York Times. Feb. 18, 2015. (Nov. 9, 2015)
  • "Survival Outside the Body." Aidsmap. NAM. 2015. (Nov. 17, 2015)
  • The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource. "What Is HIV?" (Nov. 10, 2015)
  • The Scripps Research Institute. "Scripps Florida Scientists Awarded $6 million to Develop Alternative HIV/AIDS Vaccine." Sept. 23, 2015. (Nov. 11, 2015)
  • World Health Organization (WHO). "Breast Is Always Best, Even for HIV-Positive Mothers." Bulletin of the World Health Organization. Vol. 88, No. 1. January 2010. (Nov. 12, 2015)
  • World Health Organization (WHO). "HIV/AIDS." July 2015. (Nov. 10, 2015)
  • World Health Organization (WHO). "Number of People (All Ages) Living With HIV; Estimates by WHO Region." 2013. (Nov. 12, 2015)

More to Explore