News Stories

The AIDS Puzzle

Who gets it, who doesn't, and why? - AIDS experts have compelling evidence that some people live with HIV who for years and even decades show extremely low levels of the virus in their blood, never progressing to full-blown AIDS, and remain symptom free even without treatment. And now we think we know one more reason why some people are MORE likely to contract HIV?it's all thanks to the ancient Romans!

Physicians have realized that people living in areas that were once part of the Roman empire, which lasted a thousand years, are less likely to carry a gene which protects them against HIV and thus more vulnerable to the disease. This includes England, France, Greece and Spain. Some researchers once thought that these were people whose ancestors survived the bubonic plague were LESS likely to get HIV.

The Romans didn't necessarily bring HIV with them?there are no descriptions of an AIDS-like disease in their writings?but they may have brought an unknown disease to which people to which that particular gene variant were particularly susceptible.

Meanwhile, physicians have discovered a monogamous, married, African-American couple in Baltimore, in which the wife was infected through sex with her husband more than a decade ago.

Unlike her husband, the wife remains symptom free, and has not needed any treatment to keep the disease in check. The husband takes a potent drug cocktail to keep his infection from developing into full-blown AIDS. The couple has been married for two decades and the husband was an intravenous drug user.

AIDS researcher Joel Blankson says, "This is an extremely rare case of co-infection in a controlled, monogamous relationship, which showed us how a strong immune system?kept the virus from replicating and infecting other cells."

BBC News quotes researcher Susan Scott as saying, "We just don't know. This is just another piece of the jigsaw, but we're waiting for the big piece of evidence which will solve this."

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

Here at Unknowncountry.com, we're all still putting the pieces together about lots of things, but we DO KNOW one thing: in order to understand the future, we need to consult the past?but this only works if we have the right interpreter!

To learn more, click here and here.

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