Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Fast-progressing HIV an 'epidemic' in Cuba, says Belgian study

Fast-progressing HIV an 'epidemic' in Cuba, says Belgian study
PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 February, 2015, 8:30am
Tribune News Service

Fast-progressing HIV an 'epidemic' in Cuba, says Belgian study
A strain of HIV that progresses to full-blown Aids within three years if
left untreated has become "epidemic" among newly infected patients in
Cuba who reported having unprotected sex with multiple partners, a study

The strain of human immunodeficiency virus - a combination of three
subtypes of the virus - progressed so fast, researchers at Belgium's
Catholic University of Leuven said they worrid that patients infected
with the mutated virus might not seek antiretroviral therapy until it
was too late.

The finding, published in the medical journal EBioMedicine, raises
concerns among researchers who worry that mutated HIV viruses are more
difficult to diagnose, might become resistant to therapy and could
challenge efforts to develop a vaccine.

Hector Bolivar, a physician and infectious disease specialist with the
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said the HIV research
community had long known about the virus' capacity to mutate and create
new versions. More than 60 strains of HIV type one now exist.

Anne-Mieke Vandamme, a professor at the Catholic University of Leuven,
and a team of researchers reported that they travelled to Cuba after
clinicians on the island reported an increasing number of HIV infections
that rapidly progressed to Aids.

For the study, Vandamme's team recruited patients at the Institute for
Tropical Medicine Pedro Kouri in Havana who had tested negative for HIV
less than three years before diagnosis and who had not received therapy.

Researchers reported studying the blood of 73 patients recently infected
with HIV - 52 who had been diagnosed with Aids, and 21 without Aids -
and comparing the results with samples from 22 patients who had
progressed to Aids after living with HIV for more than three years.

None of the patients had received therapy for the virus. But all the
patients infected with the mutated strain of HIV, known as a
recombinant, developed Aids within three years. On average, people
infected with HIV develop Aids in six to 10 years.

Source: Fast-progressing HIV an 'epidemic' in Cuba, says Belgian study |
South China Morning Post -

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