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How can I find out if my wife is immune to hiv?
Dec 7, 2011

Hi, I'm a big fan of the body.com and I'm so glad you guys are here to help everybody. Thanks. Now for my question. I've heard that some people can't get hiv. And that there is a gene responsible. How do I get my wife tested to find out if she is immune to hiv? What kind of tests are needed, and is it expensive? Sincerely, Jake

Response from Mr. Cordova

Hi there:

You are talking about people who have the CCR5 mutation. CCR5 is a a protein on the surface of your CD4 cells that HIV uses to gain entry into your CD4 cell. The CD4 cell is what HIV uses to create copies of itself. A very small percentage of people (around 1%) have a mutation called CCR5-delta32. With this mutation, the CCR5 protein is missing from the surface of the CD4 cell. Without this protein, the virus is unable to infect the CD4 cell. So while a person can still be infected with the virus, the virus is unable to gain entry into the CD4 cells and make copies of itself.

Testing for this mutation remains a reseach tool at this time, not a means of prevention. Using condoms remains your best bet for stopping transmission of the virus.

I hope this helps.

In health, Richard



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