Infection Method and HIV Natural history
Sep 15, 2007
It is my understanding that the progression of HIV infection may differ in cases of infection by IV drug use (blood transfusion too?) versus sexual contact. Is this accurate? What accounts for differences in natural history - the vehicle of transmission (blood vs. semen) or the location of infection (bloodstream vs mucuous membranes)? Is the virus itself different in blood vs semen vs vaginal fluid? Can differences in natural history be measured in terms of labs?
Response from Dr. Holodniy
Mode of transmission is but one factor that may affect the rate of progression of HIV infection. It also depends on the amount, type of virus and the underlying immune system of the person being infected. HIV is a family of viruses within a person and can differ between what is found in blood, genital secretions and other organs. Natural history is best measured over time by decreasing CD4 count. Many blood markers have been looked at for their predictive value. There hasn't been one found that can accurately predict the time of progression.
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