The Medical News

The Medical News

A study led by researchers from SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University and Oregon Health & Science University, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases , showed that, despite successful antiretroviral therapy (ART), antigen specific memory to vaccinations that occurred before HIV infection did not recover, even after immune reconstitution. Additionally, a previously unrealized decline in pre-existing antibody response was also observed. Approximately two-thirds of HIV-positive patients in the U.S. are on an ART regimen. It works by reducing viral replication and boosting CD4 T cell counts, which are important to suppressing or regulating the immune response. Normally, these cells "remember" viruses and respond in large numbers when exposed again. However, this study suggests that this memory is inhibited in some HIV-positive patients who are otherwise doing well on therapy. Should this loss of serological memory, or HIV-immune associated amnesia, exist for other pre-infection vaccinations or viruses, it would have significant implications for the overall health status of HIV patients, including: Providing an explanation for chronic inflammation and "accelerated aging" observed among people with HIV Suggesting a loss of protective immunity and an increased risk for common acute or chronic viral infections among people with HIV, regardless of whether they are on an ART regimen Suggesting a potential loss of protection against such common childhood diseases such as measles, mumps, chickenpox , pertussis ( whooping cough ) and others, for which these patients were previously vaccinated as children, prior to HIV infection, and not restored by ART There is no doubt that ART provides significant, life-changing benefits for people with HIV by reconstituting their overall immune response. What our study suggests is that ART may not be completely effective in restoring the immune protection resulting from viral infections or childhood vaccines received prior to becoming HIV positive. This makes these patients potentially susceptible not only to these serious diseases, but also other chronic infections and to chronic inflammation that may diminish their overall health and shorten their lifespan." Michael Augenbraun, MD, FACP. FIDSA, Professor of Medicine and Vice Chair, Department of Medicine and Director, Division of Infectious Diseases at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University and Kings County Hospital Center Related Stories



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