Questions for HIV: Reversing a Death Sentence


Before reading:

1)     Describe what you know about HIV and AIDS. What causes HIV? How does it spread from person to person?

During reading:

1)     What announcement did doctors make a few years ago about patient Timothy Ray Brown?

2)     When did HIV first come to the attention of doctors and scientists?

3)     Worldwide, how many new cases of HIV emerge every year?

4)     How many people have died from AIDS so far?

5)     Why did Duzi’s family choose to share his diagnosis with the public?

6)     Name three ways people can NOT become infected with HIV.

7)     Name two ways people CAN become infected with HIV.

8)     Is the number of people dying from AIDS rising or falling? What about the number of new HIV infections — is it increasing or decreasing?

9)     By what percentage do anti-HIV drugs reduce the risk of spreading the infection?

10)   With the help of drugs, about how many babies of women infected with HIV are born with the virus?

11)   The HIV virus targets mainly what type of cell in people?

12)   Describe how HIV gets cells to make copies of the virus.

13)   When do doctors consider someone to have AIDS?

14)   What are “hidden pools” of the virus and how do scientists detect them?

15)   What major medical procedure did Timothy Ray Brown undergo — twice — before his doctors declared him free of HIV?

16)   Explain how a genetic mutation makes some people less likely to pick up HIV.

17)   Doctors recently reported that a 3-year-old baby infected with HIV at birth now appears to be free of the virus. How do they think this little girl got rid of her infection?

After reading:

1)     Through a series of medical procedures, Timothy Ray Brown reversed his HIV status: from positive to negative. Could doctors use the same treatment Brown received to try to cure other HIV-positive patients? Why would it good be a good strategy — or not? Explain your answer.


1)     Create a poster that explains how people can become infected with HIV and how people can NOT become infected with the virus. Share it with your family, friends, and classmates.