Low cholesterol in immune cells tied to slow HIV progression

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People with HIV whose immune cells have low cholesterol levels experience much slower disease progression, even without medication, according to a study at University of Pittsburg Graduate School of Public Health.

For the study, researchers used 30 years of data and biologic specimens collected through the Pitt Men’s Study, a confidential research study of the natural history of HIV/AIDS.

The researchers found that low cholesterol in certain cells, which is likely an inherited trait, affects body’s ability to transmit the virus to other cells.

“Results like ours are the real pay-off of the past three decades of meticulous data and specimen collection,” senior author Charles Rinaldo, PhD, chairman of Pitt Public Health's Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, professor of pathology, was quoted as saying. “It is thanks to our dedicated volunteer participants that we are making such important advances in understanding HIV, and applying it to preventing and treating AIDS.”

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