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HIV superinfection in Uganda may be more common than previously thought, study finds
Date:6/7/2012

HIV superinfection, when a person with HIV could acquire a second, new strain of HIV, may occur as often as initial HIV infection in the general population in Uganda, a study suggests.

Since researchers demonstrated more than a decade ago that a person infected with HIV could subsequently acquire a second, new strain of HIV, there has been little agreement in the scientific community as to how often HIV superinfection occurs. Previous studies have found HIV superinfection to be relatively frequent among individuals who engaged in high-risk behaviors, but the rate of superinfection in general populations remained unclear. The new study, supported in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a component of the National Institutes of Health, offers some evidence about the likelihood.

In light of the study's findings, the authors say post-test counseling for individuals newly diagnosed with HIV infection should emphasize the risk of HIV superinfection and the possible health implications of continuing practices that put them at risk for HIV. Studies of the rate of new cases, or annual incidence rates, of HIV superinfection, including those conducted in the United States, estimate 4 percent incidence among highly sexually active people diagnosed with HIV infection.

"This study indicates that HIV superinfection may be more common than was previously thought," said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "These findings have implications for public health strategies to prevent new infections and efforts to develop an HIV vaccine. In addition, they are important because HIV superinfection can accelerate disease progression and the development of drug resistance, even in individuals who were previously controlling their HIV infection."

The study, published online in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, was led by Thomas C. Quinn, M.D., and Andrew D. Redd, Ph.D., of NIAID's Laboratory of Immunoreg
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Contact: Tasheema Prince
tasheema.prince@nih.gov
301-402-1663
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Source:Eurekalert

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