MAPUTO, Mozambique -- Military and civilian delegates and subject matter experts from 77 nations gathered for the 2012 International Military HIV/AIDS Conference in Maputo, Mozambique, May 7- 10, to share best practices in HIV prevention, care and treatment.
An AIDS-like disease was discovered by scientists a new study revealed on Tuesday. (Photo : Flickr)
Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have discovered a mysterious new disease in Asia that mimics AIDS but does not appear contagious.
The study, led by Dr. Sarah Browne, tested over 200 patients from Thailand and Taiwan and found that the disease is found in adults and cannot be inherited.
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Unlike HIV, which destroys T-cells, this new disease causes a different kind of damage to the immune system.
According to TIME magazine, the study discovered that those infected make a substance called autoantibodies, which blocks interfernon-gamma. The chemical is a key signal that helps bodies fight off infections.
Patients infected with the disease exhibit the same symptoms as those with AIDS although they are not infected with HIV reports TIME. Once infected, patients are vulnerable to virus, parasites and fungal infections.
"Fundamentally, we do not know what's causing them to make these antibodies," Browne said in the TIME report.
Until now, all patients have been Asian, suggesting that genetic and environmental factors such as infections may cause the disease, researchers said.
The earliest cases of this disease came in 2004, when Browne and her fellow scientist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases began their research. Their discoveries were published on Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.