Friday August 17, 2018

About 2.5 Million People Infected with HIV Each Year: Study

During the past decade, the rate of new infections has "stayed relatively constant" since its peak in 1997 of 3.3 million new infections per year

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An early clinical trial shows that passive immunization with an HIV-1 neutralizing antibody can help lower the amount of virus in the blood of an HIV-1-infected subject. Image source: Science Translated Medicine
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    • About 2.5 million people are infected with HIV every year, according to a recent analysis of a global AIDS study
    • According to the GBD 2015 study, 75 percent of the new HIV infections occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, while south Asia accounted for 8.5 percent and south-east Asia for 4.7 percent
    • Between 2005 and 2015 the use of antiretrovirals has increased from 6.4 percent to 38.6 percent for men and from 3.3 percent to 42.4 percent for women

About 2.5 million people are infected with HIV every year, according to a recent analysis of a global AIDS study.

During the past decade, the rate of new infections has “stayed relatively constant” since its peak in 1997 of 3.3 million new infections per year.  While the rate of annual death from HIV/AIDS has been in a steady decline from a peak of 1.8 million in 2005 to 1.2 million in 2015.

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“Although scale-up of antiretroviral therapy and measures to prevent mother-to-child transmission have had a huge impact on saving lives, our new findings present a worrying picture of slow progress in reducing new HIV infections over the past 10 years,” said lead author Haidong Wang.

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The report, which analyses findings of the Global Burden of Disease 2015 study, was published in the Lancet HIV Journal to coincide with the launch of the International AIDS meeting in Durban, South Africa.

According to the GBD 2015 study, 75 percent of the new HIV infections occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, while south Asia accounted for 8.5 percent and south-east Asia for 4.7 percent.

Hai Dong Wang Image Source: globalhealth.washington.edu
Hai Dong Wang. Image Source: globalhealth.washington.edu

It says that in southern Africa, more than one percent of the populations of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland were becoming infected with HIV. In Europe, Russia and Ukraine had the highest rates, while Cambodia had the highest rates in Asia.

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Between 2005 and 2015 the use of antiretrovirals has increased from 6.4 percent to 38.6 percent for men and from 3.3 percent to 42.4 percent for women.

Despite those increases, the study says most countries fall short of the UNAIDS target calling for countries to ensure that 81 percent of people living with HIV/AIDS are receiving ART by 2020.  Although according to report, no country has met that goal, Sweden, the United States, Netherlands and Argentina are all close at about 70 percent

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Computer Simulations can Predict HIV Spread

The researchers also plan to develop public health computational tools to help the agencies track the disease and allocate resources for targeted prevention campaigns

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Computer simulations can predict the spread of HIV: Study. Flickr

Researchers have found that computer simulations can accurately predict the transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) across populations, aiding in preventing the disease.

The study, published in the journal Nature Microbiology, found that the simulations were consistent with actual DNA data obtained from a global public HIV database.

“We looked for special genetic patterns that we had seen in the simulations, and we can confirm that these patterns also hold for real data covering the entire epidemic,” said lead author Thomas Leitner from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US.

HIV is particularly interesting to study in this manner as the virus mutates rapidly and constantly within each infected individual, the researcher said.

The changing “genetic signatures” of its code provide a path that can be followed in determining the origin and time frame of an infection, the study found.

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For the study, the researchers used phylogenetic methods, examining evolutionary relationships in the virus’s genetic code to evaluate how HIV is transmitted. Pixabay

The rapid mutational capability of the virus is useful for the epidemiological sleuthing, but is also one of the features that makes it so difficult to tackle with a vaccine.

For the study, the researchers used phylogenetic methods, examining evolutionary relationships in the virus’s genetic code to evaluate how HIV is transmitted.

The research team found that certain phylogenetic “family tree” patterns correlated to the DNA data from 955 pairs of people, in which the transmitter and recipient of the virus were known.

Also Read: Every Three Minutes a Teenage Girl is Infected by HIV — UNICEF

“These HIV transmissions had known linkage based on epidemiological information such as partner studies, mother-to-child transmission, pairs identified by contact tracing, and criminal cases,” the researchers said.

The researchers also plan to develop public health computational tools to help the agencies track the disease and allocate resources for targeted prevention campaigns. (IANS)