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Issue No. 41 | September 16, 2011

News and Features

Join AIDSinfo in Observing National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day

September 18, 2011, marks the fourth annual National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, a day that serves to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS among older adults. According to the 2009 HIV Surveillance Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the 40 states with confidential name-based HIV reporting, from 2006 to 2008 the largest percentage increase in the number of people living with HIV infection was among people 60 to 64 years old. National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day highlights the importance of preventing HIV infection in older adults and the need for greater understanding of and ability to address the challenges of aging with HIV/AIDS.

AIDSinfo has developed a page highlighting this awareness day with information and resources about HIV/AIDS and aging.

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Study Suggests HIV-1 Adapts in Response to Natural Killer-Cell-Mediated Immune Pressure

“Natural killer (NK) cells have an important role in the control of viral infections, recognizing virally infected cells through a variety of activating and inhibitory receptors. Epidemiological and functional studies have recently suggested that NK cells can also contribute to the control of HIV-1 infection through recognition of virally infected cells by both activating and inhibitory killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs). However, it remains unknown whether NK cells can directly mediate antiviral immune pressure in vivo in humans. … [We] describe KIR-associated amino-acid polymorphisms in the HIV-1 sequence of chronically infected individuals, on a population level. We show that these KIR-associated HIV-1 sequence polymorphisms can enhance the binding of inhibitory KIRs to HIV-1-infected CD4(+) T cells, and reduce the antiviral activity of KIR-positive NK cells. These data demonstrate that KIR-positive NK cells can place immunological pressure on HIV-1, and that the virus can evade such NK-cell-mediated immune pressure by selecting for sequence polymorphisms, as was previously described for virus-specific T cells and neutralizing antibodies. NK cells might therefore have a previously underappreciated role in contributing to viral evolution.”

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