Friday, 21 September 2012

The low incidence of HIV-linked memory loss in India is due to under-diagnosis and inadequate medical facilities

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: The low incidence of HIV-linked memory loss in
India is due to under-diagnosis and inadequate medical facilities.

Human immunodeficiency virus causes memory loss or dementia. But the
number of such cases reported in India is quite low and a team of city
scientists blames it on under-diagnosis and factors like social
stigma, inadequate medical facilities. HIV has strains like HIV-1B and
HIV-C. While HIV-1B is prevalent in the USA and Europe, HIV-1C is
found in India, China and sub-Saharan Africa.

Both the strains cause memory loss. HIV-1C-linked memory loss cases
are quite low and city scientists feel that it is due to improper
reporting. Scientists from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular
Biology (CCMB) argue that HIV-associated dementia, which is apparently
more common and severe in HIV-1B patients than those with HIV-1C, “may
also be underreported”.

“The low incidence of HAD in HIV-1C–affected regions such as India,
China, and sub-Saharan Africa may be attributable to under-diagnosis
due to social stigma, inadequate medical facilities, ignorance,
shorter life expectancy, short survival after HIV infection,
discordance in clinical prevalence of various opportunistic
infections, lack of enough autopsy reports, various host and genetic
factors, and abuse of drugs,” the CCMB scientists said in their study
published in the scientific journal, Nature.
Moreover, successful therapeutic strategies in the United States are
more specific for the HIV-1B virus and may not be suitable for HIV-1C
patients. HIV-1C infection is now rapidly spreading to Europe and

Of the 34 million HIV-1 infected people in the world, about 48 per
cent suffer from HIV-1C. HIV-1C has caused millions of deaths.
According to the UNAIDS, currently there are about 34 million people
living with HIV, including 2.7 million cases of new infection and 1.8
million deaths in 2010 alone. The majority of the cases and deaths
were in HIV -1C prevalent regions, the CCMB team pointed out.

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