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Slow Viral Clearance Speeds AIDS

Slow Viral Clearance Speeds AIDS

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A study in the May 15 edition of Journal of Infectious Diseases shows that the strongest predictor of how quickly HIV disease will progress to an AIDS diagnosis is the speed at which the virus is cleared from the bloodstream after primary infection and the viral 'set point' is reached. The set point is the viral load at which viral levels remain relatively stable and begin climbing only when severe immune system damage occurs. Researchers from the Institute of Human Virology in Baltimore followed 22 HIV-positive adults and found that those who posted the greatest viral load declines during the shortest amount of time following primary infection were the least likely to have progressed to AIDS; all 11 study subjects with a slow viral load decline had progressed to AIDS by the end of the seven-year study. A high rate of initial clearance of HIV was associated with a 10-fold lower likelihood of progression to an AIDS diagnosis.

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