HIV transmission question, on genetic mutation (CCR5)

Sorry for the ambigious title but I didn’t know how to say it. If a moderator can fix it so it’s more clear please do.

As I understand it some people have a genetic mutation that prevents HIV from binding to their receptors. This makes it impossible for them to get AIDS because the HIV. (I oversimplfied this I know)

Now here’s the question that I can’t get an answer from because when I searched the web the results were all over the place. So while I don’t expect a definitive answer a decent answer would be nice :slight_smile:

If you have this genetic “defect” and HIV is prevented from binding to your receptors do you still have HIV in your system. The question being, would you still have the HIV but even though it lives in your body, said HIV, can’t do you damage.

Secondly would this HIV be transmissable to others who lack the “genetic mutation”

I hope this makes sense, it’s kind of hard to describe when you lack the correct medical technology. As I said I tried searching the web, and I get everything from “If you have this defect you can’t catch AIDS,” to “There is no proof that defect protects you from getting HIV much less AIDS.” So you can see it’s not easy.

HIV doesn’t just use CCR5 to bind to the cell, it will also use CCR5 to gain entry into the cell, which is necessary for replication. Without the ability to enter the cells, the original virus will obviously be unable to replicate and produce more progeny. My educated guess is that since the original virus that enters the body upon infection also requires the cell’s machinery for its own survival, it will likely eventually die if it can’t enter cells.

The CCR5 receptor is the most common entry-receptor into the cell for HIV. In some of those who are infected (especially much later in the course of the infection), the virus can use the CXCR4 receptor (and possibly some other entry receptors). There are drugs in final studies now that bind the CCR5 receptor and don’t allow the virus to get in. They seem to be promising. It doesn’t seem to have any bad effects on the immune system for the CCR5 receptor to be rendered ineffective.

Here’s a simplistic answer to your question. It’s possible that, if a person inherits the deceptive CCR5 receptor from both parents, they can be exposed multiple times to HIV and will not be infected at all. Some of these people have been found (mostly descended from northern Europe, presumably because this benign genetic defect helped them to survive some earlier, different epidemic). They seem to be immune.

There are others who inherit the deceptive CCR5 receptor from one parent and they can become infected, but their infection doesn’t seem to progress to AIDS as quickly. They stay healthy longer, even though they are positive for the virus.