Roche in HIV
Site Resources
Understanding HIV
About HIV
  HIV Epidemiology
  HIV Infection
  HIV Disease & Management
  Viral Load
Management Issues
  Useful Links
  Site Map


What is HIV ?

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is an organism known as a retrovirus. Like any virus, HIV must use the cells of another organism – its host – to survive and reproduce. HIV is adapted to using the cells of the human immune system.

HIV has its origin in the transmission of simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs) from non-human primates, mainly chimpanzees, to humans. Such zoonotic transmission is not unique – the virus that causes influenza, for example, was another animal virus that came into contact with humans and evolved successfully to become a human pathogen. Exactly when SIVs made the jump to humans from chimpanzees is still unclear, with some researchers putting it as early as the 17th century. But the HIV strain responsible for the current epidemic is estimated to have emerged in the 1930s. 

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Print Print
See also:
  HIV is a retrovirus
  How is HIV transmitted ?
  The lifecycle of HIV
  Pathophysiology – how HIV causes disease
  < Back
All information contained in this website is generated and maintained by F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Ltd, Basel, Switzerland.
This site is intended for use by healthcare professionals only. This site is not intended for residents of the United States of America.
Copyright 2006 F. Hoffmann La Roche Ltd. - Disclaimer.
Contact webmaster