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Top 5 Contagion® News Articles Month of October 2017

#3: Herpes Simplex Virus 2 and HIV—What's the Connection?

Although international health organizations often focus on the nearly 37 million people worldwide who live with HIV, another sexually transmitted disease—herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2), the main cause of genital herpes, is a far more common condition. According to the World Health Organization, as of 2012, there were 417 million people globally between the ages of 15 and 49 with HSV-2, many of them, like most with HIV, reside in sub-Saharan Africa. And while HSV-2 on its own is not fatal, having the condition makes an individual more likely to contract HIV, just as having HIV raises a person’s risk of HSV-2.

This symbiosis and what it means for a vulnerable population was behind a British team’s effort to document the risk of HIV acquisition in people infected with HSV-2. Scientists at the University of Bristol and Imperial College London delved into multiple studies conducted between 2003 and 2017, mostly in Africa, that examined the connection between these 2 chronic infections. They found that individuals with HSV-2 had a decidedly higher risk of acquiring HIV than those without HSV-2. This risk was nearly tripled among the general population and doubled for people in high-risk categories, such as women engaged in sex work, men who frequent sex workers, and men who have sex with men. And when the data was analyzed to separate out individuals who had acquired HSV-2 after the study began versus those who had been infected with it earlier, the team found that the risk of contracting HIV was 5 times greater in the general population.

Learn more about the connection between HSV-2 and HIV.

#2: CDC Issues Updated Guidance for Infants Born to Mothers with Possible Zika Infection During Pregnancy

Today, October 19, 2017, in a new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated interim clinical guidance designed to help healthcare providers as they care for infants who were born to mothers with potential Zika virus infection while pregnant. 

In August 2017, the CDC, in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, hosted a meeting where clinical experts presented emerging evidence in the realm of Zika virus. These presentations focused on the diagnosis, evaluation, and management of infants with potential congenital Zika virus. The evidence presented was used to inform the updated guidance.

Despite the fact that Zika virus cases are down compared with this time last year, cases continue to spring up in other countries across the world and in the United States, which serves as a reminder: Zika is still a big public health threat, especially to pregnant women and their unborn children.

Continue reading about the CDC’s updated guidance for infants born to mothers with possible Zika infection during pregnancy.

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