CD8 Count

On 19 August, 2011, in HIV & AIDS FAQ, Resource, by Cindy Pivacic

The CD8 protein comes secondary to the CD4 protein in the story of HIV infection, but CD8 and CD4 are quite closely related in that they are cell surface proteins found predominantly on T cells, and they both bind to HLA protein on other cells.
CD8 is ordinarily found on the surface of killer T cells (as opposed to CD4, ordinarily found on the surface of helper T cells). CD8 binds to HLA class I on some other cell – which, as the diagram below shows, allows the T cell receptor protein to dock to HLA-I and check the antigen (“Ag”) which HLA is presenting.

If the shape of the T cell receptor matches the antigen which is being presented, then a sequence of signals is triggered inside the T cell which causes it to kill the cell which it’s attached to (if it’s a killer T cell) or induce others to kill it (if it’s a helper T cell).

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I often get asked ‘how do you ask someone to wear a condom’. You just do! If you have got to a point in your relationship and taken the next step to have intercourse, which is a very intimate issue in itself, how can you NOT ask your partner to go with you as a couple for pre-counselling and a test or condomise.

If he (from here on out I am talking from a woman’s point of view) says he doesn’t like wearing a condom, he is selfish, stupid or inconsiderate. You have an alternative option; get the female condom and if you are concerned it will ruin the moment, make it work. I ask you would you rather be infected with this virus…’s permanent, not like your average cold, two weeks of antibiotics and hoo-ha, its over. Its there for life, once you have it, you have it, best you make it your friend then!

I have a friend (you will know who you are) whose ex from a year or so back, came to him for some business advice. He looked rather sheepish and I inquired as bluntly as always ‘did you sleep with her?’ the answer of course was ‘Yes’.

Now, you need to know, he is completely aware of my status and we have had lengthy discussions on the HIV/AIDS subject.

I subsequently wanted to know if he had used a condom to which the response was negative, when asked where his condoms were, was told in the drawer next to his bed.
I asked why he didn’t use one and the response was ‘I don’t like them’. Sorry, NOT good enough!

My question to this is:
• Do you like the virus more?
• What part of permanent does a person not understand?
• Am I wasting my time creating/educating awareness?
• Do you even understand what you are leaving yourself open too?
• Do you want any of the following acquired diseases?

a) Pneumonia
b) TB (Meningitis)
c) 2 x Strokes
d) Shingles
e) Cancer – Angioimmunoblasticlymphadenopathy

Yes I have had all of the above but do YOU want them?

If not apply the ABC Rule:

A Abstain
B Be faithful (get tested partner/self you can’t get IT if you are in a single/faithful relationship)
C Condomise!

Do it for you, test, always with pre-counselling. Stop the spreading of this disease.

After all that, have a wonderful day ?

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There are more than 25 antiretroviral (ARV) medications currently available and numerous potential combinations or treatment regimens. Once you find a treatment regimen that is right for you the tough part begins – making sure it keeps working.

Two major factors that can affect the success of your treatment are adherence and resistance. Adherence refers to how closely you follow your treatment regimen, taking the correct medication at the right time, the right dose and in the right way. Resistance occurs when the virus in your body no longer responds to the medications you are taking.

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ScienceDaily (Feb. 4, 2011) — Australian scientists have successfully cleared a HIV-like infection from mice by boosting the function of cells vital to the immune response.

A team led by Dr Marc Pellegrini from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute showed that a cell signaling hormone called interleukin-7 (IL-7) reinvigorates the immune response to chronic viral infection, allowing the host to completely clear virus. Their findings were released in the February 3 edition of the journal Cell.

Dr Pellegrini, from the institute’s Infection and Immunity division, said the finding could lead to a cure for chronic viral infections such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, and bacterial infections such as tuberculosis, which are significant economic and global health burdens.

Current approaches to curing chronic infections tend to focus on generating a long-lived immune response to a specific disease. Dr Pellegrini, working with colleagues Mr Simon Preston and Mr Jesse Toe, and collaborators Professors Pamela Ohashi and Tak Mak from the Ontario Cancer Institute, argues that long-lived immune responses to chronic diseases are not always effective, and has instead concentrated on how the immune response can be manipulated to better fight infection.

“Viruses such as HIV and hepatitis B and C overwhelm the immune system, leading to establishment of chronic infections that are lifelong and incurable,” Dr Pellegrini said. “Despite tremendous efforts, long-lived immune responses for some of these viruses are ineffective, because the body is so overrun by virus that the immune system, in particular T cells, just give up trying to battle the infection. Some people have coined the phrase ‘immune exhaustion’ to explain the phenomenon. Our approach is to discover some of the mechanisms that cause this immune exhaustion, and manipulate host genes to see if we can boost the natural immune response in order to beat infection.”

The team investigated the role of IL-7, a naturally-occurring immune hormone, in a mouse model of HIV infection. IL-7 is a cytokine (cell signalling hormone) that plays a critical role in immune system development and maintenance.

“We found that IL-7 boosted the immune response in a pretty profound fashion, such that animals were able to gradually clear the virus without too much collateral tissue damage,” Dr Pellegrini said.

Further investigations revealed that, at the molecular level, IL-7 switched off a gene called SOCS-3.

“In an overwhelming infection, SOCS-3 becomes highly activated and suppresses the immune response, probably as a natural precaution to prevent ‘out-of-control’ responses that cause collateral damage to body tissue,” Dr Pellegrini said. “In the case of these overwhelming infections, the immune system effectively slams on the brakes too early, and the infection persists.”

Mr Preston, who worked on the SOCS-3 studies, said that switching off the SOCS-3 gene boosted the immune system and helped the animals to completely eliminate the infection.

“The key for us was figuring out that turning off SOCS-3 only really worked when it was within T cells,” Mr Preston said. “It allowed the immune response to boost the number of virus-specific T cells and have an immune response good enough to eliminate the virus without initiating an immune response that was too large and would make the animal sick.”

Dr Pellegrini said the research had provided excellent ideas for new therapies that could target and boost host immune cells to fight disease, rather than targeting the disease itself.

“The findings could help to develop drugs that target some of these host molecules, such as SOCS-3, and turn them off for very short, defined periods of time to reinvigorate the T cells, allowing them to regroup to fight infection,” he said.

This research was supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, the Canadian Institute for Health and the Cancer Research Institute.

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The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.

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FAQ about HIV & AIDS – What do you think?

On 6 February, 2011, in HIV & AIDS FAQ, by Cindy Pivacic

1. Antiretroviral treatment is a cure for AIDS? Y/N
2. Getting AIDS means you are going to die? Y/N
3. Are Weight loss, diarrhoea, shingles and swollen glands symptoms of HIV? Y/N
4. Is it possible to know that a person is HIV positive if he/she gets tested immediately after exposure to the virus? Y/N
5. Rich/decent people cannot get HIV/AIDS? Y/N

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