Why is the HIV virus considered a retrovirus?

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The HIV virus is one of the most debilitating and deadly virus's known to man. Its ability to compromise the important CD4+t cells in the human immune system leads to the onset of aids as once enough CD4+ t cells die. This leaves the body vulnerable to many infections, which...

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The HIV virus is one of the most debilitating and deadly virus's known to man. Its ability to compromise the important CD4+t cells in the human immune system leads to the onset of aids as once enough CD4+ t cells die. This leaves the body vulnerable to many infections, which ultimately lead to the infected persons death. HIV is spread through sexual or blood contact. It is known as a retrovirus because of the way it places its DNA into healthy CD4+ t cells. The HIV virus is in the form of RNA when it enters the cell. It then must convert its RNA into DNA so that the infected cell can use its own machinery to generate more HIV virus. Specifically, HIV uses an enzyme known as a reverse transcriptase for this process. The use of this enzyme is what leads HIV to be classified as a retrovirus, as reverse transcriptase takes the HIV RNA and converts it to DNA that is then placed directly into the cells original DNA. This leads to the creation of more viruses, spreading the infection. Hope this helps!    

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