HIV most transmissible in early months of infection
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 26, 2007
The chance of transmitting HIV to another is greatest during the first six months after being infected, said a study in the April 1 Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Researchers used phylogenetic analysis to follow the virus as it spread from one person to another in Quebec. Some 49% of patients presenting with primary HIV infection from 1998 to 2005 had related genetic signatures, suggesting to researchers that the early infection period caused a significant percentage of those infections. This may be because although patients have a high viral load during this time, most individuals will not know yet that they are infected and may not have changed behavior.
"We must do a much better job of identifying recently infected people if we are to be able to counsel them to modify high-risk sexual behavior and desist from transmitting the virus," said Mark Wainberg, PhD, senior author and director of the McGill AIDS Centre in Montreal.
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2007/03/26/hlbf0326.htm.