The page below is a sample from the LabCE course HIV: Structure, Replication, and Detection. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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HIV is a Retrovirus

A retrovirus is an RNA virus that uses the enzyme reverse transcriptase to convert viral RNA into DNA. In most cellular biochemistry, DNA is used as the template for the synthesis of RNA. However, in HIV, RNA is the template for the synthesis of DNA. In other words, the process of RNA conversion to DNA is the reverse (retro) of the more common process of DNA conversion to RNA.