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Infections By Group N

Question: 

Hello, my name is Alex.
 
I've heard that this strain is a lot more virulent than the rest, I mean,
that in general, the people who have it show quite soon severe symptoms and a
decline of C4 cells. Is it true that this strain is very aggressive and that
its symptoms show up short time after being infected?
 
And I also heard that ELISA 4º Generation may not detect sometimes this
strain, remaining undetected and being a reason of false negative in some this
cases. It's quite confusing, as I also read that many (if not all) infections
by this strain were detected by ELISAs. What do you think about
question?
 
Thanks in advance, and sorry if my English is not very accurate.
 

Answer: 

Hi Alex,
Thank-you for contacting AIDS Vancouver with your question.
 
To answer the first part of your question, please keep in mindthat not all newly infected individuals will show symptoms within the 2-6 week window that they can appear. Furthermore, any potential symptoms exhibited are not a direct indicator of HIV acquisition regardless of the subtype and if symptoms do appear, regardless of subtype, they will only occur for a short time, soon after HIV acquisition- this is not something special or particular to subtype N. The only way to be certain whether HIV transmission has occurred is to get tested.
 
In regards to the Subtype N not being detectable by ELISA 4th Generation tests, this is incorrect.
The 4th Generation test looks for both the P24 antigens as well as the HIV anti-bodies. The subtype N group produces both of these. Therefore they are detectable by all current 5 commercial HIV immunoassays (generic antibody tests).
 
In addition, it might be helpful to know that his particular subtype of HIV-1 is extremely rare. As of 2006 Only 10 cases have been reported worldwide, and they are all in Cameroon, Africa. If you do not live in Cameroon, it is not likely even possible for you to be exposed to this subtype. For more reading on HIV subtypes, I suggest you check out this website: http://www.avert.org/hiv-types.htm
Best wishes,
Calvin
AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer
604-646-4666
 

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