Hunger linked to testing HIV+ in South Africa

While this is certainly not news to dissenters, it’s interesting to see the mainstream pulled closer to the middle in the tug of war.

Avert has reported on a study in the South African Journal of Science which found that those who reported hunger had a higher risk of testing HIV-positive. Of course, no one with any grey matter would believe that malnutrition would help immunity.

The only evident facepalm is believing that food insecurity leads to reckless sexual behaviour. Because that’s clearly the first priority of hungry people. Or at least black Africans. Obviously.

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Declining condom use with… declining infection rate?

The annual number of new HIV infections among adults and adolescents decreased by 50% or more in 26 countries between 2001 and 2012. …recent surveys in several countries in sub‑Saharan Africa have detected decreases in condom use and/or an increase in the number of sexual partners.

So, as condom use has apparently decreased in sub-Saharan Africa, the continent with the most visible epidemic of HIV/AIDS, there has been an overall global decrease in infection?

[Source: UNAIDS Global Report 2013 (PDF)]

Vitamin D deficiency high in Ugandan TB (AIDS-defining illness) patients

In the present study, researchers wanted to know if patients admitted to the hospital for tuberculosis in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, were vitamin D deficient or not.

They measured vitamin D levels among other things in 260 consecutively admitted tuberculosis patients. They found vitamin D deficiency was common, despite Uganda close proximity to the equator and having an abundance of sunshine.

…The researchers also noticed that vitamin D deficiency was more common in patients with HIV co-infection, low CD4 cell counts (a type of cell that helps your immune system) and anemia.

What’s the bigger problem: vitamin D deficiency or HIV-positivity?

[Source: Vitamin D Council]

Chicken or egg?

“The Yale-led team found that a low-expressing version of the immune response gene known as macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF)—a cell-signaling molecule secreted by the body’s —conferred a two-and-a-half two and a half-fold increased risk for severe tuberculosis in a group of patients from Uganda. Low-expressers of MIF are almost twice as common among people of African ancestry as Caucasians.

“This helps to explain the increased incidence of TB in Africa,” said senior author Richard Bucala, M.D., professor of rheumatology, pathology, and epidemiology at Yale School of Medicine and Yale School of Public Health.

Furthermore, this variation may be especially important in people co-infected with HIV, who have a compromised immune system. “Therapies to augment MIF action could provide a new tool to combat the global TB epidemic,” Bucala said.”

So, what’s the first issue – low MIF expression or ‘HIV’? Both seem to be attributed to suppressed immunity.

[Source: Medical Xpress]