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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

HIV Resistance Gene

Genetic resistance to HIV infection is relatively common in people of Caucasian descent and virtually nonexistent in people of African descent, the National Cancer Institute's Dr. Steven O'Brien has announced. He also said there is a state of partial genetic protection that slows the course of illness.

The Caucasian people who have this gene are far less likely to progress rapidly to AIDS after infection and they live AIDS-free lives an average of two years longer.

But results have fueled a long-standing debate as to whether it is the amount and type of virus in the body that dictates the number of disease-free years, or whether it something in that individual's immune system? If the virus is the key, new drug treatments that decrease HIV levels may eventually be curative.