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HHV6(a) and HIV Pathogenesis
Apr 15, 1997

Have you any view about the role of HHV6 variant (a) in HIV pathogenesis? There have been a number of reports recently which seem to indicate that this virus, in people infected with HIV, is very destructive and may actually be the virus which causes most of the tissue damage in AIDS. Some of this work has been conducted by the (in)famous Prof Gallo. I also seems to be true that treatments against HHV6(a) such as Naltrexone etc. can substantially delay or prevent progression. Any comments on this? Thanks for your help!

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

Human Herpes Virus-6 (HHV-6) has been implicated as being linked to several different diseases. It has now been suggested to be a possible co-factor in the progression of HIV to AIDS. This does NOT mean that a person must have HHV-6 to get AIDS. What it does mean is that having HHV-6 (in persons who already have HIV), may lead to faster progression to AIDS, or may make AIDS more severe. There are other co-factors (other than HHV-6) that are related to HIV/AIDS. For a more detailed description about co-factors linked to HIV/AIDS, please see the question, "Cofactors and HIV infection?"

I have not found any published studies that suggest that Naltrexone has any effect against HHV-6.

On a related note, a similar virus HHV-8, has now been linked as the most likely cause of Kaposi's Sarcoma, a cancer sometimes seen in persons with AIDS. This is believed to be a sexually transmitted virus. It is theorized that HHV-8 remains latent and inactive in the body for years. Once the immune system becomes damaged (from HIV), this activates the virus to cause Kaposi's Sarcoma.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).



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