Definition of Virus, human immunodeficiency (HIV)
Virus, human immunodeficiency (HIV): The cause of AIDS. HIV has also been called the human lymphotropic virus type III, the lymphadenopathy-associated virus and the lymphadenopathy virus. No matter what name is applied, it is a retrovirus. (A retrovirus has an RNA genome and a reverse transcriptase enzyme. Using the reverse transcriptase, the virus uses its RNA as a template for making complementary DNA which can integrate into the DNA of the host organism). Although the American researcher Robert Gallo at the National Institutes of Health believed he was the first to find HIV, it is now generally accepted that the French physician Luc Montagnier (1932-) and his team at the Pasteur Institute discovered HIV in 1983-84.
Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2012
Back to MedTerms online medical dictionary A-Z List
Need help identifying pills and medications?