The researchers raise concern that the transmission across subgroups into Pakistan’s general population may serve as indication that the virus may be spreading into populations within neighboring Afghanistan. The team’s epidemiological findings were published in July in the journal PLoS One.
The technique used to understand the forces that drive the HIV epidemic in Pakistan could also help health care professionals understand and intervene in other deadly disease outbreaks wherever they occur, researchers say.
“Are the strains in Pakistan and Afghanistan of two different epidemic origins, or are they the same? It’s an important question,” said paper author Marco Salemi, a UF College of Medicine professor and a member of the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute and the UF Genetics Institute. “Genetic evidence can be used to test how different populations are intersecting. As you can imagine, behavioral data is difficult to get in some countries and this is why molecular tools are important.”
Salemi analyzed DNA sequences of blood samples from three HIV-positive groups: intravenous drug users, men who have sex with men, and women who have become infected by their bisexual spouses. By examining the evolutionary makeup of HIV strains, scientists say one of the strongest factors of the disease’s spread is through men who sleep with male intravenous drug users.
The study was led by scientists at Aga Khan University and Dow University of Health Sciences, both in Karachi, Pakistan’s capital, and the team is part of a larger consortium of researchers worldwide who have published in the last year, further documenting the spread of HIV in predominantly Muslim countries. The scientists say they will continue the epidemiological work in Afghanistan.
Deriving information from molecular studies is also essential to complement information that may not necessarily be accurate, or truthful, from in-person interviews.
“These questions are very sensitive and most of the behaviors we deal with, even in countries outside the Middle East, are illegal behaviors,” said Willi McFarland, director of the HIV Epidemiology Section at the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
McFarland is an author of a PLoS One paper that also appeared this summer. That research was led by scientists from the Qatar branch of Weill Cornell Medical College who examined smaller studies from the Middle East and North Africa of men who hid their sexuality out of fear of prosecution.
Despite certain social and legal limitations that may make conducting similar studies difficult in some parts of the world, McFarland says the trust and confidentiality established between physicians and their patients proved crucial in providing the demographic information needed to conduct international studies such as these.
“Despite the legal consequences, the doctor patient-relationship does seem to be respected,” McFarland said.
Marco Salemi | EurekAlert!
GLUT5 fluorescent probe fingerprints cancer cells
20.04.2018 | Michigan Technological University
Scientists re-create brain neurons to study obesity and personalize treatment
20.04.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy