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AIDS and Helper T cells
Dec 15, 1997

What I have heard is that AIDS affects the immune system by destroying the Helper T cells and that people actually die from other infections and not directly from the AIDS virus. Am I correct? If this is so how does the Aids virus know which cells to attack?

Response from Dr. Gallant

What you heard is essentially true, although there are things that HIV does on its own that can cause problems. It can infect brain cells and cause dementia, for example.

HIV "knows" which cells to attack because it infects cells that have the appropriate receptor molecules on their surfaces. Without the right receptors, HIV can't get into the cell. The CD4 receptor is probably the most important, but there are others, such as CCR5, which we are now learning more about.


Determine time of Infection
when a person begins to show true signs

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