Zhong Nanshan: Symptoms of 'Negative Aids' patients caused by known virus
Since 2009 some Chinese patients suspect they have been suffering negative AIDS disease or infected by an unknown virus.
Leading Guangzhou medical professional Zhong Nanshan (钟南山) says his researchers found no evidence to support claims that a group of patients suffered from so-called negative Aids. Their symptoms are caused by known virus and short-term treatment is effective.
May 7, 2011, Guangzhou - From the beginning of 2009, there have been reports that a group of people suspect they are infected by an unknown virus. These people usually had high risk sexual activities. At first they suspected they were suffering from AIDS, but repeated HIV tests proved to be negative while most of them have symptoms like white tongue, noice in joints, swelling subcutaneous lymph nodes which are very similar to those of AIDS patients.
From March 31 to May 3,2011, Zhong Nanshan led a team to conduct clinical investigation for 60 patients alleging they are infected with an unknown virus.
Zhong Nanshan says his researchers did not detect HIV positive for all the patients, but Zhong did not entirely concur with government findings that the group was basically healthy apart from psychological issues. He says that many of the people were tested positive for at least one of a group of pathogens. Their symptoms are caused by known virus and short-term treatment is effective.
"Our finding is largely consistent with that of the Ministry of Health," Zhong said in Guangzhou yesterday. "We've found these patients were not HIV carriers and that their conditions were exacerbated by psychological factors such as depression."
He headed a team of medical researchers at the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical College that collected more than 260 samples from 60 patients from March 31 to Tuesday. After clinical observation, they decided to test the patients for six common bacteria or viruses. Their studies found 80 per cent tested positive for at least one of the six pathogens.
Of these 48 patients, 33 tested positive for the Epstein-Barr virus or short term EB virus, a form of herpes. The other five viruses were related to high-risk sexual contact. He said 12 patients agreed to sit psychological tests and seven were found to have abnormal conditions.
"We think that their conditions could be made worse due to psychological factors," he said. "However, we do not agree that there was nothing wrong with the patients. We have found them carrying viruses that could be contracted via unprotected sex. A large majority of these patients had extramarital sex and their symptoms were triggered or became obvious right after the sex act."
Zhong said he could not conclude they were simply suffering from sexually transmitted diseases. There was also no evidence suggesting there was a new, unknown virus affecting the patients and further studies and tests would be needed before they could confirm a diagnosis.
Zhong urged people to avoid unprotected sex and stop sharing dishes in order to prevent contact with such viruses.
The health ministry began receiving reports about "negative Aids" in June 2009 but could not conduct research because the reports were anonymous. The national Centre for Disease Control and Prevention established contact with a group of people on the internet from September 2009 to January last year and conducted research among 59 volunteers. The patients tested negative for HIV and another virus that can cause fatigue, but the centre's findings were not accepted by the 59 volunteers. The centre sent their blood samples to a laboratory in the United States for testing, which confirmed they had not contracted HIV.
Since then, the ministry ordered Beijing, Shanghai, Zhejiang , Jiangsu , Hunan and Guangdong to study the problem in February and March, covering 40 people, including 15 who took part in the first round of research.
Results of the blood tests were basically normal, there was no indication of any contagious disease and their immune systems were normal.
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