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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course HIV Safety for Florida Clinical Laboratory Personnel. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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The Human Immunodeficiency Virus type-1 (HIV) belongs to the Family Retroviridae.
The core of a retrovirus (including HIV) contains RNA, which encodes the genetic information of the virus, and an enzyme known as reverse transcriptase. Reverse transcriptase enables the virus to convert RNA to double-stranded DNA (the opposite of the normal process of transcription where double-stranded DNA is converted to single-stranded RNA).
Because of this reverse process, HIV is known as a retrovirus; retro implying reverse.