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Patients With Filariasis More Prone To HIV Infection

According to a report published in the December issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases, HIV infection is significantly enhanced in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from individuals with untreated filarial infection compared to PBMCs from infected patients treated with antifilarial agents. According to Dr. Ramya Gopinath and her team at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, ‘Studies suggest that immune activation resulting from the high prevalence of helminth infection in the developing world may contribute to rapid spread and progression of HIV infection in these areas’. The study found increased HIV replication in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from filarial infected patients. Conversely, there was a striking and significant decrease in HIV replication in PBMCs isolated from patients treated with antifilarials compared with those from untreated individuals particularly with respect to replication of M tropic HIV. This report should ring alarm bells in the third world countries and in regions where HIV and Filaria are both rampan.

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