U.S. NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. U.S. NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY.
Transmission electron micrograph (TEM - orange tint) of a single virion of a virus causing AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). The virus (designated HIV - Human Immunodeficiency Virus) affects T-lymphocyte cells of the immune system, particularly T-helper cells responsible for stimulating B-lymphocytes, which produce antibodies. This undermines the body's defence system so that it can no longer destroy "opportunistic" infections, notably pneumonia & Kaposi's sarcoma. Transmission of the virus is by sexual contact, through contaminated needles or transfused blood products (eg. Factor VIII). Diameter of spherical virus is 100 nanometers.
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