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Immune to HIV???
Sep 7, 1998

I'm not really sure if this is the right area to ask this question but, since you do talk about resistance (though I gather that's to meds) I'll try. Please forward to right person if not. I'm trying to find out some more info on HIV- people who seem to be immune. Let me explain. My husband and I have been together for 13 years and we did not know he was + until about a year ago so, of course did not use protection with sex or bloody accidents, etc. I am -. I do not understand why nobody is interested in people like me. I called the Clinical Trials Hotline and spoke to a lady there who was trying to explain to me that I might be immune which is rare or I might have an immune system that has always thrown it off and that they could tell that if I ever had a Western Blot test done but not with the Elisa test which is what they always do first and since mine has always been - they've never went further. She gave me a # to call because she said basically nobody is that lucky especially a woman. I left a message but, nobody ever called me back. Are there really so many of us out there that the Clinical Trials people don't know about? or have they given up on this approach or what? I'm no scientist or Doctor but, I would think something could be done with people's blood who don't seem to be susceptible to this disease. Any input would be appreciated.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

The information that was given to you is basically correct. HIV requires a couple of different molecules(receptors) on the surface of cells to gain entrance and infect the cells. It has recently been found that some people have mutations in one of these receptors. This alters the molecule in such a way that HIV cannot get in or has great difficulty in getting in. This finding has created a new body of research that is finding compounds which mimic the blocking of HIV entrance into the cell. There are also other individuals who are heavily exposed, but do not have this receptor mutation. They may have other genetic determinants (such as human leukocyte antigen,HLA differences)among others which prevent HIV infection. Lastly, some exposed, but uninfected people are able to demonstrate immune reactions to HIV in the test tube. All of these observations are the subject of intense research. MH



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