Secrets for Symptom-Free Life with HIV Close to Discovering

Although there is still no vaccine for HIV, researchers have discovered new clues on why few people infected with HIV remain symptom-free.

About one in 300 people infected with the virus have an immune system that suppresses the replication mechanism of HIV, thus carry low levels of the virus. A study recently published in the journal Science says that there could be specific genetic variations that enables this uncommon response to HIV.

In the study, an international team of researchers looked at the genome of almost 1,000 people who can control the virus in their system and 2,600 persons whose HIV infections progress.

They found that there are small variants in a protein called HLA-B that could be responsible for a person’s ability to control the virus. The HLA molecule works by “informing” the immune system that there is a virus in the body that should be combated. People who have variations from the usual HLA-B protein have their T-cells (blood cells that protect against infections) stop the virus from wrecking havoc in the body.

Such reaction to HIV enables these people to live symptom-free for more than 30 years and take no medications whatsoever to combat the virus. In fact, some of them would be tested negative in traditional HIV tests, although the virus’ “signature” is still present.

Source: CNN

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