a variable retrovirus that invades and inactivates helper T cells of the immune system and is a cause of AIDS and AIDS-related complex: variants were identified in several laboratories and independently named lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV),
human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 3 (HTLV-3),
and AIDS-related virus (ARV),
the name human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
being subsequently proposed by an international taxonomy committee.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.