The state or condition in which the body (or part of the body) is invaded by an infectious agent (e.g., a bacterium, fungus or virus), which multiplies and produces an injurious effect (active infection). As related to HIV: Infection typically begins when HIV encounters a CD4+ cell. The HIV surface protein gp120 binds tightly to the CD4 molecule on the cell's surface. The membranes of the virus and the cell fuse, a process governed by gp41, another surface protein. The viral core, containing HIV's RNA, proteins and enzymes, is released into the cell. See CD4 (T4) or CD4+ Cells; gp41; gp120.
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