HIV “superinfection” may not affect disease progression

From POZ online

Although HIV superinfection is connected to a more rapid increase in viral load and has somewhat of an impact on CD4 cell loss, it does not apparently lead to faster disease progression, aidsmap reports. Publishing their findings in the journal AIDS, researchers conducted a study of 144 HIV-positive women between 1993 and 2008. Twenty-one of the women became superinfected during the study. Past research of women at high risk for HIV in Mobmasa, Kenya, showed they became superinfected at an annual rate of 3 percent.

The women who contracted a second strain of HIV saw their viral loads rise at a faster rate when compared with the women with just one strain of the virus. The superinfected women also apparently lost CD4 cells more quickly, although this difference was of only borderline statistical significance, meaning there was not much heft to the idea that it definitely didn’t happen by chance. Regardless of these two findings, the superinfected women’s HIV disease did not progress faster.

The women who became superinfected had lower viral loads before contracting the second strain when compared with the women who did not contract a new strain. This led the researchers to figure that there may have been something more unique to the superinfected women, or that there was something about the women’s particular viral strain, that left them more susceptible to superinfection.

To read the study abstract, click here.

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