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Studies suggest HIV subtype more deadly than others
Date:11/27/2007

Two studies led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that people infected with HIV in Thailand die from the disease significantly sooner than those with HIV living in other parts of the world. According to the researchers, the shorter survival time measured in the studies suggests that HIV subtype E, which is the most common HIV subtype in Thailand, may be more virulent than other subtypes of the virus. Both studies are published in a special issue of the journal AIDS.

The first study followed 228 men over a 14-year period starting in 1991. All of the men were serving in the Thai military and were HIV-negative when they enrolled in the study. The researchers tested for HIV every six months to determine approximately when they acquired HIV. The men were also diagnosed at a time before combination antiretroviral drug therapy was available.

The researchers compared the group of Thai men to a group of similar HIV-positive men living in North America and Europe who were included in another study. The median time from HIV infection to death for the Thai men was 7.8 years compared to 11 years for HIV-positive men living in North America and Europe. The survival rate for the Thai men was also lower than studies of similar populations living in low- and middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa where subtypes A, C, D and G circulate. However, the shorter survival after HIV infection among persons in Africa infected with subtype D was similar to the survival among the Thai men.

We were surprised to learn that the young military recruits from Thailand appeared to develop AIDS more quickly and have shorter survival after their HIV infection than persons in Africa who were carefully followed, said lead author Ram Rangsin, assistant professor of Community and Military Medicine at Phramongkutklao College of Medicine in Bangkok. Rangsin conducted the research while studying at the Bloomberg School of Public
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Contact: Tim Parsons
paffairs@jhsph.edu
410-955-6878
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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