Parasites may boost HIV infection rates

Published July 24, 2008 · Estimated reading time: 1 minute · Share your thoughts
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As posted in Neglected Tropical Diseases Society

The New Scientist reports of a recently released publication by Chenin et al. suggesting that parasitic infections in co-endemic regions may account for the greater rates of HIV-1 infections in these regions.

“Evan Secor of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and his colleagues infected macaques with schistosomes, parasitic worms that infect millions of people in Africa each year. Infected and uninfected macaques were injected with simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) via the rectum. Only about 1/20th the amount of virus was needed to cause SHIV infection in monkeys with worms compared with those without the parasite.”

This follows earlier reports (Hotez et al., 2006) which have suggested that immune systems compromised by tropical infections may lead to increased susceptibility to other infections and create a breeding ground for new epidemics. Both articles note, however, that despite the significant epidemiological overlap between the NTDs and HIV/AIDs, malaria and TB, these links have been largely overlooked. A quick survey of literature attests to that.

Permanent linkMarzieh Ghiasi