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Infectivity Is High in Early Infection

Infectivity Is High in Early Infection


Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, report in the May 15 edition of Journal of Infectious Diseases that HIV levels in semen rise and fall in conjunction with HIV levels in the blood, making HIV transmission risks significantly higher during primary HIV infection, when blood-based viral loads can number in the millions. The study's findings would explain how HIV is spreading so rapidly among heterosexuals in the developing world, where condom use is rare. The researchers suggest that HIV-positive adults in the primary infection phase are 'hyper infectious,' and this state can remain for about six weeks. HIV transmission risks during this period are likely to be far higher than previously thought, the researchers say. Refocusing HIV prevention and treatment efforts toward people with primary infection may slow the spread of the virus, the study concludes.

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