HIV has a bad long lost cousin…and it’s back.

HIV

The Human T-Cell Leukemia virus type 1 or HTLV-1 is an ancient virus that has resurfaced in Australia. Infection is exceeding 40% among adults in remote regions of central Australia, especially the town of Alice Springs.

DNA of the HTLV-1 was found in 1500 year old Andean mummies. It spreads from mother to child (through breastfeeding) between sexual partners (through unprotected sex) and by blood contact through blood transfusions. 

The virus causes disease of the nervous system, causes a lung-damaging condition called “bronchiectasis” and weakens the immune system, just like its cousin the HIV virus.

HTLV-1 is present throughout the world, however new interest on the focus has come about because of the high prevalence among indigenous Australians, probably the highest-ever reported prevalence in any population, reported Australian media.

Around the world, there appears to be little or no efforts to screen for HTLV-1. The only country which has a national antenatal screening program is Japan. 

In short, very little is understood about the virus and according to researchers…very little is done to understand it.

So… always remember, wear helmet for safer rides!


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