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AIDS Survival Varies With HIV Subtype

Infection with subtype D brings grimmer prognosis, study finds

TUESDAY, Feb. 7, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- People infected with a specific subtype of HIV, called subtype D, have shorter survival than those with the A subtype, a new U.S. study finds.

The study of more than 300 HIV patients in Uganda found that 10 percent of the people infected with subtype D died within three years, while none of the people with subtype A died within that period of time.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said 203 people were infected with subtype D, 53 were infected with subtype A, and 70 people were infected with a recombinant version of both HIV subtypes.

Reporting Monday in Colorado at a conference on retroviruses and opportunistic infections, the team noted that there was a wide variation in average survival time, depending on the subtype, even though the quantity of virus infecting these people was roughly the same. Patients with subtype A had an average survival time of 8.8 years, compared with 6.9 years for those with subtype D, and 5.8 years for those with AD.

According to the researchers, subtype D may be more virulent than subtype A because D has the ability to bind to key receptors on immune cells. This ability enables subtype D to kill immune cells more quickly, the scientists said.

The discovery could improve the care of those with HIV/AIDS.

"Knowing a person's HIV subtype is important for the management of the infection because the disease can progress more rapidly in those infected with subtype D and recombinant virus incorporating subtype D than in those with other subtypes," lead researcher Oliver Laeyendecker, a senior research associate at Johns Hopkins, said in a prepared statement.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians offers advice on how to reduce your risk of HIV/AIDS.

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Medicine, news release, Feb. 6, 2006
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