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New insights into AIDS link to pill

Feb 28, 2002 | Seattle Times

For years, scientists have known that many women infected with the AIDS (news - web sites) virus fare worse than others if they had been taking birth-control pills when infected.

Researchers from Seattle and Kenya yesterday shed more light on how that happens.

Speaking to the ninth annual Retrovirus Conference in Seattle, one of the researchers explained that somehow the women end up with HIV (news - web sites) that is more genetically diverse. And that, in turn, makes it harder for the immune system to put down the infection.

"We really need to learn more about the mechanism of hormones (in oral contraceptives) and whether they cause the increased HIV diversity," said Dr. Manish Sagar, a Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center scientist and director of study.

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