In some parts of the world there are still wars being fought and dictators in power. There are societies which consider themselves at the peak of evolution and progress. They are able to create state of the art automobiles, luxurious homes, efficient and organized industries, complex computerized machinery and atomic weapons. Many societies are governed by a democratic system which herald a belief in freedom.
All societies, regardless of their political and economic makeup, are also ruled by a special class of dictators; these dictators are unseen to the naked eye, and are invincible. These invisible tyrants are microorganisms. Underdeveloped countries, technologically advanced countries, and those in between are at the mercy of these microorganisms, which come in many forms - viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. The most dangerous of these forms is the virus. Some viruses, such as the common flu, are considered to have a fairly detrimental capacity. The flu can incapacitate a human for several weeks with various symptoms such as bodily soreness, fever, bronchial complications, and even pneumonia. But while these conditions can be painful and frightening, we are usually confident that proper medication and rest will take care of the matter.
However there is a much more severe and indiscriminate tyrant, with enormous corrupting influence, capable of infiltrating all of civilization. Scientifically, it is a submicroscopic pathogen consisting of a particle of nucleic acid, enclosed in proteins, and able to replicate only within a living cell. Socially, it is responsible for an enormous amount of chaos and fear in the world today, and pronounces the human fault of ignorance. Can it be considered to be a modern plague?
This complex and confusing king of all tyrants is called Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV. HIV is a retrovirus. Retroviruses are commonly identified in many animal species, but HIV and its...