People living with HIV can be reinfected with a new viral strain resulting in potential treatment resistant recombinant virus known as HIV super-infection. Three hundred and twenty men, women, and 33 transgender persons completed confidential surveys in a community research setting. A majority of participants were aware of HIV super-infection and most believed it was harmful to their health. In addition, HIV super-infection beliefs predicted protected sexual behavior over and above participant age and alcohol use. Unprotected anal and vaginal intercourse between two HIV infected partners is not, however, free of potential health risks. HIV seroconcordant sex partners risk exposing themselves to other sexually transmitted pathogens that can potentially complicate the course of their HIV infection. In addition, clinical evidence confirms that people already infected with HIV can be re-infected with a different genetic variant of the virus.
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As the virus destroys and impairs the function of immune cells, infected individuals gradually become immunodeficient. Immune function is typically measured by CD4 cell count. Immunodeficiency results in increased susceptibility to a wide range of infections, cancers and other diseases that people with healthy immune systems can fight off. The most advanced stage of HIV infection is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome AIDS , which can take many years to develop if not treated, depending on the individual. AIDS is defined by the development of certain cancers, infections or other severe long term clinical manifestations. Signs and symptoms. The symptoms of HIV vary depending on the stage of infection. Though people living with HIV tend to be most infectious in the first few months after being infected, many are unaware of their status until the later stages.
HIV superinfection also called HIV reinfection is a condition in which a person with an established human immunodeficiency virus infection acquires a second strain of HIV, often of a different subtype. HIV superinfection may be interclade , where the second infecting virus is phylogenetically distinct from the initial virus, or intraclade , where the two strains are monophyletic. People with HIV risk superinfection by the same actions that would place a non-infected person at risk of acquiring HIV. These include sharing needles and forgoing condoms with HIV-positive sexual partners. Infection with a second strain after seroconversion is known as superinfection. A study conducted in Kenya in shows that superinfection tends to occur during the course of the initial infection, that is during acute infection , or 1—5 years after initial infection, but not during the latency period.