Biology 45 is listed as “Biology of Aids” at UC Irvine. This is a biology course that teaches students about the immune system, characteristics of HIV/AIDS, and the history of HIV/AIDS. Students not only learn about the biological aspect of HIV/AIDS, but also the social and historical aspects of it. Learning more about HIV/AIDS can allow students to be better informed about reducing HIV infection risk behaviors based on knowledge, facilitate knowledge and thinking processes in public policy, and enhance understanding for individuals with HIV/AIDS.
1. Lymphocytes & The Two Types
Lymphocytes are cells in your body that respond specifically to particular foreign substances, or antigens. An antigen is a molecule or a substance against which lymphocytes will raise a response. Lymphocytes are divided into two types, known as B-Lymphocytes and T-Lymphocytes. B-Lymphocytes secrete soluble proteins called antibodies into the circulatory system. Each individual antibody specifically recognizes and binds to one particular antigen. The antibody then signals other cells in the immune system to attack. T-Lymphocytes, on the other hand, make proteins called receptors that are similar to antibodies in that these proteins recognize specific antigens. T-Lymphocytes get their name from maturation depending on passage through the thymus gland. T-Lymphocytes recognize and bind to foreign antigens.
2. The Two Systems of the Immune System
Our immune system is divided into two systems. The first one is called Innate immunity, which is a pre-programmed to respond to infectious agents and abnormal cells. Components of innate immune system are present in lower organisms such as insects and plants. The innate immunity provides the first line of defense against infectious agents. Adaptive immunity is comprised of mostly lymphocytes. It responds SPECIFICALLY to infectious agents. It is a more recent evolutionary development. Adaptive immunity allows higher organisms like humans specifically respond to new infectious agents and to efficiently combat them.
3. How do Antibodies fight infections?
Some antibodies bind microbes and inactivate their infectivity by altering the structure of the virus or by physically blocking binding of the virus to a cell that it could infect. These are called neutralizing antibodies. Antibodies can bind to the surface of an infectious agent like a bacterium or a larger infectious agent if it contains an antigen. Cells of the innate immune system (phagocytes, eosinophils and mast cells) have surface molecules that recognize the regions of antibodies, and are activated to engulf and/or kill the antibody bound microbe. Other host cell defense mechanisms such as proteins in the blood called complement can bind to antibodies that are bound to microbes and kill the microbes.
4. What is HIV? What is AIDS?
HIV, also known as human immunodeficiency virus, is a pathogen that can infect humans. Eventually, HIV can lead to AIDS. A pathogen is a microorganism that can cause disease. AIDS, also known as acquired immune deficiency syndrome. A syndrome is a set of symptoms or conditions that occur together. HIV/AIDS is a serious problem in society. This is because there is a long incubation period without symptoms, therefore leading a long period of transmission to others.
5. How is HIV transmitted?
HIV is transmitted through the transfer of bodily fluids containing the virus. This can occur by sex, blood transfusions, sharing needles, or birth. It is NOT caused by casual contact. HIV transmission is commonly seen in male to male sexual contact, injection drug use, heterosexual contact, and birth. In 2013, the global estimate for people living with HIV globally was 35 million.
Biology 45 at UC Irvine is a popular course among UCI students. It promotes knowledge and a deeper understanding for those who are infected with HIV/AIDS. This class is also great because it debunks common myths associated with HIV/AIDS and helps students approach HIV/AIDS without prejudice. The course code for this class varies every quarter, but it is always listed as Biology 45 and it is commonly taught in the fall and winter quarters.