MSD Manual

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Simplified Life Cycle of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus
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Simplified Life Cycle of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus

    Like all viruses, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) reproduces (replicates) using the genetic machinery of the cell it infects, usually a CD4+ lymphocyte.

    Drugs used to treat HIV infection were developed based on the life cycle of HIV. These drugs inhibit the three enzymes (reverse transcriptase, integrase, and protease) that the virus uses to replicate or to attach to and enter cells.