Who knew that HIV had family out there… No seriously, it does and it’s clearly on a rampage; Infecting more than 40% of adults in the remote regions of Central Australia.
According to CNN?
The rates of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1, or HTLV-1, infection are exceeding 40% among adults in remote regions of central Australia, with indigenous communities being the hardest hit, especially in the town of Alice Springs.
Many doctors — including the man who discovered the virus nearly four decades ago — are raising the alarm about how little has been done to prevent, test for and treat HTLV-1, which can cause leukemia and lymphoma.
“There’s little to almost no vaccine efforts, outside of some Japanese research,” he said. “So prevention by vaccine is wide open for research.”
HTLV-1 — an ancient virus whose DNA can be found in 1,500-year-old Andean mummies — can spread from mother to child, particularly through breastfeeding; between sexual partners, through unprotected sex; and by blood contact, such as through transfusions. Because it can be transmitted through sex, it’s considered a sexually transmitted infection, or STI.
The virus is associated with myriad serious health problems, such as diseases of the nervous system and a lung-damaging condition called bronchiectasis, and it weakens the immune system. HTLV-1 is sometimes called a cousin of the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV.