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July 17, 2010

HIV can be deadly even before CD4 counts fall, researchers say "They reported in the journal Lancet that, when they accounted for other factors affecting deaths, homosexual men with counts between 350 and 500 and who had not received antiviral therapy were 30% more likely than uninfected individuals to die. Heterosexuals were nearly three times as likely to die, injection drug users were more than nine times as likely to die, and those with unknown risk factors were four and one-half times as likely to die.

"The increase in risk was substantial in injecting drug users and the heterosexual group, but was small in men who have sex with men," the authors said in a statement. "This finding suggests that much of the raised risk in the former two risk groups probably results from confounding by socioeconomic and lifestyle factors rather than being an effect of HIV infection itself. The magnitude of the raised risk in the [homosexual] group is more likely to reflect the effect of HIV itself."