ad info
 Diet & Fitness

 Headline News brief
 news quiz
 daily almanac

 video archive
 multimedia showcase
 more services

Subscribe to one of our news e-mail lists.
Enter your address:
Get a free e-mail account

 message boards

CNN Websites
 En Español
 Em Português


Networks image
 more networks

 ad info


  health > AIDS > story pageAIDSAgingAlternative MedicineCancerChildrenDiet & FitnessMenWomen

Doctors document case of HIV reinfection


February 2, 2000
Web posted at: 7:30 p.m. EST (0030 GMT)

From Medical Correspondent Dr. Steve Salvatore

(CNN) -- The first case of an HIV positive patient being reinfected with a second strain of HIV has been documented by doctors in Ottawa Canada, according to data presented Wednesday at the annual Conference on Retroviruses in San Francisco.

Experts believe this case proves what has been suspected all along -- HIV positive people can be reinfected even years after their initial exposure to the virus. And it raises concerns about difficulties in developing a vaccine against HIV.


VideoThe first case of an HIV positive patient being reinfected with a second strain of HIV has been documented by doctors in Ottawa.
Real 28K 80K
Windows Media 28K 80K

According to doctors, the Ottawa Hospital patient was reinfected after a sexual relationship with another HIV positive patient who was being treated at the hospital. They became suspicious when the patient stopped responding to anti-viral therapy and informed them of the relationship.

"Initially we noticed that he was getting worse," said Ottawa Hospital's Dr. Jonathan Angel. "His immune system appeared to be getting weaker, and the amount of virus in his blood stream appeared to be getting higher without any explanation."

This superinfection has been seen in chimpanzees and in anecdotically in some humans. The Ottawa data is still preliminary and experts say reinfection may not cause everyone to deteriorate as rapidly as the patient in this case.

"Conceivably, this is the reason why the person had a progressively deteriorating course," said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health. "But since it's only one patient, we've got to be careful that we don't jump to any conclusions about the frequency of superinfection or double infection."

Doctors say this is a reminder of the importance of safe sex, even if both people in the relationship are HIV positive.

"The belief that reinfection is not possible or does not occur is a contributing factor to unprotected sex, particularly between individuals who are both HIV positive," said Ronald Johnson, associate executive director of the Gay Men's Health Crisis.

But what concerns experts most about the Ottawa data is its impact on vaccine development and effectiveness.

"Here's a person who had a relatively good immune response, because they were not advanced in their disease," Fauci said. "They had a virus in them that was continually stimulating their immune system, and yet, they still got infected with another virus."

Fauci pointed out that a vaccine is never as potent as a replicating virus in protecting a person against infection from another virus. "If this replicating virus (HIV) can't do it (fight off another HIV virus) then a vaccine is going to have a tough time doing it," Fauci said.

Scientists focus on AIDS drug dilemma
January 31, 2000
Report: Priests hit hard by hidden AIDS epidemic
January 31, 2000
AIDS differs in women and men
January 31, 2000
AIDS experts worry that treatments will create complacency about risks
January 31, 2000
Study finds circumcision may lessen AIDS risk
January 31, 2000

7th Conference on Retroviruses
Ottawa Hospital - General Campus Homepage
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Gay Men's Health Crisis
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

China SARS numbers pass 5,000
Report: Form of HIV in humans by 1940
Fewer infections for back-sleeping babies
Pneumonia vaccine may help heart, too
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.