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New Study Proves Treating STDs Reduces Infectiousness Of HIV

Date:
June 29, 1997
Source:
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill
Summary:
Men infected with HIV -- the virus that causes AIDS -- shed eight to 10 times as much virus in their semen if they also have other sexually transmitted diseases at the same time, according to a new study conducted in Africa.
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CHAPEL HILL -- Men infected with HIV -- the virus that causes AIDS -- shed eight to 10 times as much virus in their semen if they also have other sexually transmitted diseases at the same time, according to a new study conducted in Africa.

The study, done by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine researchers and colleagues, proves that aggressively treating those other illnesses cuts virus levels dramatically, the scientists say. Widespread STD screening and therapy could help curtail the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa and other parts of the world, the study suggests.

"The more virus in semen, the greater the chance for transmission to someone else," said principal investigator Dr. Myron S. Cohen, professor of medicine and chief of infectious diseases at UNC-CH. "We believe transmission of HIV is more efficient in Africa and some other areas because STDs are more prevalent there, and more HIV is transmitted during sex."

A report on the findings appears in the June 28 issue of the Lancet, a British medical journal. Besides Cohen, UNC-CH authors of the report are Irving F. Hoffman, research instructor in infectious diseases, and Drs. Rachel A. Royce, assistant professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health; Susan A. Fiscus, associate professor of microbiology; and Joseph J. Eron, assistant professor of medicine.

The study involved analyzing semen from 135 HIV-infected men living in Malawi, an AIDS-ravaged nation in southern Africa where most HIV transmission is between men and women during sex. Of those patients, 86 were treated for other sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomonas. Another 49 HIV-positive subjects, who did not have other STDs, were treated for skin problems.

"We found that after a week of treatment, the amount of virus in the semen of the men with STDs dropped significantly," Cohen said. "After two weeks treatment, the levels were similar to those in men treated only for skin problems and without other diseases."

"These findings are very significant," said Dr. Peter Lamptey, director of the AIDS Control and Prevention (AIDSCAP) Project of the United States Agency for International Development and Family Health International. "This study provides us with biological proof that the traditional STDs play a very important role in the HIV epidemic."

"The study also demonstrates that some of the control measures that already are being implemented around the world to contain HIV, especially rapid detection and treatment for STDs, are right on," added Hoffman, who did much of the field work in Malawi. "Treating people with traditional -- and treatable --STDs, especially those individuals also infected with HIV, could have a profound effect on HIV transmission throughout the world."

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Materials provided by University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "New Study Proves Treating STDs Reduces Infectiousness Of HIV." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 June 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/06/970629222102.htm>.
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. (1997, June 29). New Study Proves Treating STDs Reduces Infectiousness Of HIV. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 27, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/06/970629222102.htm
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "New Study Proves Treating STDs Reduces Infectiousness Of HIV." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/06/970629222102.htm (accessed May 27, 2024).

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