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AIDS study may promote genetic testing

Category: HIV monitoring/Treatment/Testing/Post Diagnos

Genetic testing could help doctors determine the rate of disease progression in HIV-infected patients, new research indicates.

In a study published in the November 22 online edition of Nature Genetics, researchers from the U.S. National Cancer Institute reviewed medical records from more than 200 HIV-positive men to determine whether genetic variations affected the patients' prognoses, HealthDay News reports.

Specifically, the research team found that higher levels of a protein called HLA-C helped slow the progression from HIV to AIDS. The genetic variation allows immune cells greater access to HIV-infected areas.

"The finding that a single piece of DNA can be strongly associated with something as complex as the control of HIV soon after infection is especially intriguing, not least because we know that early control of infection sets the stage for the entire course of the disease," Rowena Johnston of the Foundation for AIDS Research told the news source.

She added that the study "hints at ways" scientists might eventually develop a vaccine or treatment that may prevent or slow the development of AIDS.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 16 million and 22 million people in the U.S. are tested for HIV each year.

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