World #AIDS Day – Stunning Image of HIV Invading a Cell.

December 2, 2012
139 Views

In 1988 on the forst World Aids Day, I was sixteen and was chosen by school, with 3 friends, to attend an AIDS awareness event in London. We joined young adults from all over the UK in a day of learning about the disease, the epidemic and prevention. We were given the mission to take the message back to our school mates: Explain the disease, explain the risk, encourage safe sex and destigmatise the condition.

In 1988 on the forst World Aids Day, I was sixteen and was chosen by school, with 3 friends, to attend an AIDS awareness event in London. We joined young adults from all over the UK in a day of learning about the disease, the epidemic and prevention. We were given the mission to take the message back to our school mates: Explain the disease, explain the risk, encourage safe sex and destigmatise the condition.

I like to think we did our bit. It was somewhat nervewracking standing before the whole school the week after, 16 years old, and encouraging my peers and seniors to wear condoms…call it a first foray into public engagement in health literacy and public affairs.

Who knew that 22 years later so much progress would have been made, and so many people would have died, and that I would find myself working for a firm  whose instruments and equipment are at the heart of the struggle against HIV/AIDS. And that this would throw up images of such devastating beauty as this. 

Hiv---tom_hope

Stay with me folks, the drivel above is preamble – this is the juicy stuff – Think of the HIV virus as Luke Skywalker destroying the Deathstar (our T-Cells):: The image shows HIV virus (green x-wing fighter) travelling down the microtubules (in red) towards the cell’s nucleus (the blue main reactor), where the viral rampage causes havoc, either killing the cell directly, causing the cell to kill itself (boom), or the body’s immune system to kill the cell (tie-ghters turn on the Death Star to stop the rebel alliance). Then, when enough of the critical CD4+ T cells (Death Stars) are destroyed, the Empire’s (our body’s) defences are down and cell-mediated immune response is no-longer effective; the Rebel Alliance wins, the Sith are banished, and the Jedi Return. Obviously this only works as a metaphor if you join the Dark Side and root for the Empire, not those pesky rebels and their cuddly friends.

 

 Technologies for imaging live cells are increasing our understanding of disease and are critical to the discovery and design of new drugs against HIV

Image courtesy Dave McDonald, University of Illinois/GE Healthcare

 

You may be interested

Where Is The Balance? Pushing Back Against Consumer Health Tech
eHealth
3 views
eHealth
3 views

Where Is The Balance? Pushing Back Against Consumer Health Tech

Larry Alton - August 18, 2017

When Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz glibly remarked that Americans struggling to afford insurance should choose between that and their smartphones,…

What to Look for in Patient Solutions Software
eHealth
365 views
eHealth
365 views

What to Look for in Patient Solutions Software

Robert Cordray - August 17, 2017

The medical sector is one area where technology has had a significant impact, largely by providing tools that simplify many…

Can Natural Remedies Like RediCalm Decrease Stress and Anxiety?
Wellness
2 views
Wellness
2 views

Can Natural Remedies Like RediCalm Decrease Stress and Anxiety?

Ryan Kh - August 16, 2017

According to research from the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the…