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Elite Controllers Have Higher Hospitalization Rate, HIV May Hide in B-Cells

Elite controllers -- people who naturally maintain viral suppressed without antiretroviral treatment -- had higher rates of hospitalization than people with HIV on antiretroviral therapy, most commonly for cardiovascular conditions, researchers reported in the December 15 Journal of Infectious Diseases. A related study showed that B cell follicles may act as a reservoir for an HIV-like virus in elite controller monkeys.

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Smoking Doubles Risk of Death for People with HIV Taking Antiretroviral Therapy

Smoking doubles the mortality risk for people with HIV taking antiretroviral therapy, a study published recently in AIDS shows. Smokers had an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) and non-AIDS-related cancers, and the life expectancy of a 35-year-old man with HIV was reduced by almost 8 years due to smoking.

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Delaying Treatment More than 12 Months after HIV Infection Reduces CD4 Cell Recovery

People with HIV who start antiretroviral therapy (ART) more than a year after seroconversion have a lower likelihood of regaining normal CD4 T-cell counts, researchers reported in the November 24 online edition of JAMA Internal Medicine. "If full restoration of immunologic and clinical health is our goal, then the present study tells us that the best chance we have is to start antiretroviral therapy within 12 months of infection," according to an accompanying editorial.

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HIV Has Become More Virulent Over Time, Not Less, European Study Finds

The largest cohort study ever to look at CD4 count and viral loads in HIV positive people around the time of diagnosis has found evidence that HIV -- at least in Europe -- has become more virulent over time. The average time taken to reach a CD4 count below 350 cells/mm3 has halved over the last 25 years, researchers calculate. This conflicts with recently reported findings from Africa suggesting HIV has gotten weaker, suggesting that local conditions may drive viral evolution in opposite directions.

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HIV Superinfection May Boost Viral Load but Does Not Worsen Disease Progression

Superinfection with a second strain of HIV may lead to a more rapid increase in plasma HIV RNA levels, but apparently does not contribute much to CD4 T-cell loss or disease progression, according to a study published in the September 24 edition of AIDS.

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