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HIV & AIDS Health Center

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HIV Can Spread Without Symptoms

People With Moderate Amount of HIV Particles in Their Blood Can Spread Virus
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 22, 2007 -- HIV-positive people with no symptoms can still spread HIV, a new study shows.

The study focuses on HIV viral load, which refers to the amount of HIV particles in a person's blood. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

Data came from long-term studies of European homosexual men and African heterosexuals with HIV.

Most cases of HIV transmission were linked to people with moderate HIV viral loads and no symptoms related to HIV.

HIV may have evolved to maintain its transmission ability despite a modest viral load, note the researchers, who included Christophe Fraser, PhD, of Imperial College London.

They call for further studies to learn more about HIV viral load and HIV transmission, with the goal of tailoring HIV prevention programs to specific groups of people based on HIV viral load.

The study appears in this week's early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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