HIV infection progresses to AIDS quicker in developing countries

The progression from HIV infection to AIDS and death from AIDS is more rapid in people living in developing countries than those living in the United States and Europe, according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences and Chiang Mai University in Thailand. The researchers tracked the length of time between HIV infection and AIDS among young Thai men. They also studied the death rate of the men 5-7 years after their HIV infection, which was higher when compared to their counterparts in developed countries. The study, "The Natural History of HIV-1 Infection in Young Thai Men After Seroconversion" is published in the May 2004 issue of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

"The importance of this study is that it demonstrates the survival and progression rates of HIV/AIDS from the time of HIV infection in a developing country and documents that the progression is more rapid than in the U.S. and Europe," said Kenrad E. Nelson, MD, corresponding author and a professor in the Department of Epidemiology.

The researchers evaluated 235 men, who seroconverted during their two years of military service in the Royal Thai Army from 1991-1995. All of the men were drafted at the age of 21. After five to seven years, 156 were alive, 77 had died and 2 could not be located. The five-year survival rate of the study participants was 82 percent.

The median time from HIV-1 seroconversion to clinical AIDS in the Thai study participants was 7.4 years. A 2000 study by the Collaborative Group on AIDS Incubation and HIV Survival, known as CASCADE, which studied over 13,000 persons in whom the time of HIV infection was documented found that the medium time after HIV infection to the development of AIDS for persons in Europe, North America and Australia was 11 years for study participants who were 15-24 years old.

The mortality rate of the Thai men was 56

Contact: Kenna L. Brigham
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

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