HIV Weakening?


A number of our memnbers are HIV positive and, thankfully, are able to resist the scourges of this virus using the “cocktail” of drugs.  They have been able to live a “normal” life and our Association has educated our members at our National Conventions on these issues.

The virus can replicate in new forms to resist these drugs, but that may be weakening according to a recent study. Apparently, in the presence of these drugs the virus evolution slows down due to continual pressure on the “escape mutants”.

The researchers compared data from Botswana and South Africa. Studies showed that viral replication capacity decreased during the same time span.

Researchers wanted to know whether the same effect could be seen in a comparison of epidemiological data between Botswana and South Africa. Researchers tested the effects of antiretroviral therapy on the virus. They created a mathematical model that showed this treatment slightly accelerates the evolution of HIV variants with a lower replication capacity.

There is still caution that these ideas perhaps only adress a relatively narrow set of gene variants that affect AIDS progression. Nonetheless, they may allow scientists to reduce the destructive power of HIV over time.

Sources: Los Angeles Times and  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.