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diseases similar to HIV.
Jan 20, 1998

Rick, in history, has there ever been another disease that was like Hiv. By this I mean a disease that has the characteristics of Hiv, i.e. it is transmitted

only through blood, pre-cum, semen, breast milk and that will survive outside the body for only a short time. If there has never been a disease the same as Hiv, what is the disease in history that is most similar to Hiv? The reason I want to know is because I am wondering if it would be able to see parallel spread patterns etc. between Hiv and any other disease that has occured in history. Thanks.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question. HIV is not as unique a disease as people often believe. There are other diseases that share characteristics similar to that of HIV, and are transmitted in similar ways. Let me give you three examples here.

The HTLV-I virus is in the same general family of viruses as HIV. The HTLV-I virus and HIV are transmitted the same way, and infect the same cells of the body. However HTLV-I does not cause AIDS! Instead, HTLV-I causes a rare form of leukemia and also causes specific types of neurological problems. Like HIV, HTLV-I is a potentially fatal disease, that normally does not cause any symptoms until many years after infection. Like HIV, HTLV-I is also incurable.

The Hepatitis B virus is also transmitted the same way as HIV. However, Hepatitis B is much more infectious than HIV, and can survive for longer periods of time outside the body (hours and even days). Like HIV, Hepatitis B is a potentially fatal disease, and is also incurable. The good news is, there is now a very effective vaccine against Hepatitis B, to protect persons from infection in the future.

Syphilis also shares some things in common with HIV. Syphilis is also sexually transmitted. Like HIV, syphilis is a potentially fatal disease, that normally does not kill a person until many years after infection. The big difference between HIV and syphilis is, that syphilis is now curable, whereas HIV is not. However, before a cure for syphilis was found, many people died of this disease.

There are other STDs that are incurable and potentially fatal as well. The diseases I have described here are just three examples. The thing to remember is, that HIV is not as unique as many people think.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to e-mail me at "nvhotline@aol.com" or call me at (Nationwide). I'm glad to help!



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