Treatment News : HIV Superinfection: More Questions Than Answers

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
Newsletters
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join
Username:
Password:

Back to home » Treatment News » June 2013

Most Popular Links
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

15 Years Ago In POZ


More Treatment News

Click here for more news

Have news about HIV? Send press releases, news tips and other announcements to news@poz.com.


emailprint

June 7, 2013

HIV Superinfection: More Questions Than Answers

Studies have reported HIV superinfection incidence rates of between 0 and 7.7 percent per year, but these data, as with much of the understanding about the phenomenon of people with HIV becoming infected with a second strain of the virus, are relatively hazy, and much more research is needed. Scientists published a review of the available research on superinfection in The Lancet in which they said that newer methods allow for improved detection of the phenomenon; that clinicians should encourage safer sexual and injection drug methods to HIV-positive patients to prevent superinfection because it may negatively impact health outcomes; and that the existence of superinfection has implications for vaccine research because it indicates the body’s inability to prevent a new infection with its own immune response.

Superinfection was first documented in 2002. It occurs when someone who is already infected with HIV is exposed to different strain of HIV and becomes infected with that as well. Two different strains of HIV can enter the same cell and bind their genetic material to become what is known as a recombinant virus. An estimated 10 percent of HIV-1 infections involve recombinant viruses, which the paper argues is evidence of superinfection.

Observational studies and case reports in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa have all documented cases of HIV superinfection. According to the paper, “The widespread observation of superinfection suggests it is a substantial problem and has been under-reported.”

Superinfection incidence rates vary widely between studies, with many reporting none at all. Factors affecting this data include study design, the population studied, the frequency of antiretroviral use, the length of follow-up in the study and the methods used to detect superinfection. One study in Uganda actually found that the incidence rate of superinfection was about the same as the rate of initial infection in the same area.

The paper reports that superinfection can take place more than two years after initial infection.

Scientists generally agree that superinfection will cause a spike in viral load. However, whether this will lead to higher viral loads over time is unclear; studies have produced contradictory results. Studies have been as inconclusive about how superinfection may affect CD4 levels.

The paper states that superinfection research findings “provide a sobering fact for HIV vaccine design—that initial HIV infection and the host’s subsequent immune responses are not fully protective against a new HIV challenge.” However, the authors say that vaccine researchers can still tease apart which parts of the natural immune response could be effective, and can study superinfection to see how the immune system reacts to the introduction of a new HIV strain.

To read the study abstract, click here.

Search: HIV, superinfection, The Lancet, recombinant virus.


Scroll down to comment on this story.



Name:

(will display; 2-50 characters)

Email:

(will NOT display)

City:

(will display; optional)

Comment (500 characters left):

(Note: The POZ team reviews all comments before they are posted. Please do not include either ":" or "@" in your comment. The opinions expressed by people providing comments are theirs alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart + Strong, which is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by people providing comments.)

Comments require captcha.
Please enter this number for verification:

| Posting Rules



Hide comments

Previous Comments:


  comments 1 - 1 (of 1 total)    

Tim, Lancaster, PA, 2013-06-08 22:25:29
Since we've spent the last three years talking about how ARVs protect against infection, and since current guidelines in the US call for everyone to treated, I can't help but wonder what relevance this "discovery" has in a magazine read primarily by Americans. Are we saying ARVs aren't protective after all? Are we publishing a study that doesn't apply this site's readership, and if so why? The presence of this "news" raises more disturbing questions than the prospect of superinfection.

comments 1 - 1 (of 1 total)    


[Go to top]


Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr Instagram
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar
POZ on Twitter

Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Poll
Is youth leadership important in the HIV/AIDS fight?
Yes
No

Survey
Smoke Signals

more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2014 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.