Are Africans genetically more vulnerable to HIV?

While reading up on the Duffy blood type the other day, I found this article..

Duffy antigen receptor for chemokines mediates trans-infection of HIV-1 from red blood cells to target cells and affects HIV-AIDS susceptibility.

Duffy antigen receptor for chemokines (DARC) expressed on red blood cells (RBCs) influences plasma levels of HIV-1-suppressive and proinflammatory chemokines such as CCL5/RANTES. DARC is also the RBC receptor for Plasmodium vivax. Africans with DARC -46C/C genotype, which confers a DARC-negative phenotype, are resistant to vivax malaria. Here, we show that HIV-1 attaches to RBCs via DARC, effecting trans-infection of target cells. In African Americans, DARC -46C/C is associated with 40% increase in the odds of acquiring HIV-1. If extrapolated to Africans, approximately 11% of the HIV-1 burden in Africa may be linked to this genotype.After infection occurs, however, DARC-negative RBC status is associated with slower disease progression. Furthermore, the disease-accelerating effect of a previously described CCL5 polymorphism is evident only in DARC-expressing and not in DARC-negative HIV-infected individuals. Thus, DARC influences HIV/AIDS susceptibility by mediating trans-infection of HIV-1 and by affecting both chemokine-HIV interactions and chemokine-driven inflammation.

If I understand this correctly, the Duffy negative individuals catch HIV easier, but it takes longer to kill them. Personally I think I’d prefer being less likely to catch it in the first place. According to the Times this means about 2.5 million Africans have HIV because of their Duffy negative blood.

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