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HIV/AIDS researchers have never understood why people infected with HIV developed AIDS at different times‚ but now they suspect that it all has to do with their genes. A study by South African and US researchers has shed new light on how specific genes in people can lead to the faster progression of AIDS-related illnesses in people living with HIV who are not on treatment. The study‚ published in the prestigious journal Science‚ was led by South African scientists who‚ together with an international research team‚ discovered that a specific-type human leucocyte antigen (HLA) gene helps infected cells to evade the body’s first line of defence. The study‚ which polled 9‚763 people living with HIV in SA and the US‚ showed that individuals with the specific HLA type progress from asymptomatic HIV infection to becoming ill with AIDS faster. The viral load in these individuals was higher and their CD4 immune cells were destroyed more rapidly‚ before they started antiretroviral treatment. ...

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