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Issue No. 10 | March 4, 2011

News and Features

HIV/AIDS Research Featured at CROI

The 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) was held in Boston, Massachusetts, from February 27 to March 2, 2011. Below are links to several articles discussing the HIV/AIDS research and study results presented at the conference.

NIAID Researchers Characterize Genetic Differences to Distinguish Early HIV Infection from Later HIV Infection

“A new finding from scientists at the National Institutes of Health could help efforts to design vaccines and other prevention tools to block HIV in the early stages of sexual transmission, before infection takes hold.  Researchers at the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have helped explain genetic differences that can distinguish some early-transmitting HIVs—viruses found in an infected individual within the first month after infection—from forms of HIV isolated later in infection. These genetic features help HIV bind tightly to a molecule called integrin α4β7. According to the scientists, the capacity to bind tightly to α4β7 likely enhances the ability of HIV to complete the many steps of sexual transmission and become the ‘founder’ virus that establishes infection in an individual.

“The study also sheds light on CD4+ T cells, the primary immune cell targeted by HIV. The authors previously reported that gp120, an HIV surface protein, can bind to integrin α4β7 via a receptor that may be present on the surface of the CD4+ T-cell. α4β7 helps direct HIV-infected CD4+ T cells into the gut, where the virus can then begin to replicate quickly. Given the new finding that certain early-transmitting isolates of HIV can have an affinity for α4β7, the scientists believe it is likely that CD4+ T cells with the α4β7 receptor play an important role in the sexual transmission of HIV.” 

More information is available:

CDC Releases 2009 HIV Surveillance Report

On February 25, 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the HIV Surveillance Report, 2009 Vol. 21. This annual report provides information and statistics about HIV/AIDS in the United States and five United States dependent areas: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. HIV surveillance data are used by CDC’s public health partners in other federal agencies, health departments, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and the general public to help focus prevention efforts, plan services, allocate resources, develop policy, and monitor the HIV epidemic.

In addition, CDC has updated their Basic Statistics Web page, which includes information on HIV and AIDS diagnoses in the United States, with information from the 2009 report.

Join AIDSinfo in Observing National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

March 10, 2011, marks the sixth annual National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. According to the 2009 HIV Surveillance Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), females accounted for 24% of all diagnoses of HIV infection and 25% of all diagnoses of AIDS in the United States in 2009. National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a nationwide observance that aims to increase awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls.

AIDSinfo has developed a specialty page for this awareness day with information and resources about HIV/AIDS and women and girls.

More information is available: