TWINS ATTRACT THEIR MOTHER’S HIV
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/01/12
“twin pregnancies remained associated with a 2.3-fold increased risk of mother-to-child HIV spread.
The association was particularly strong . . . in cases of premature rupture of the membranes, a condition in which the sack around the foetus breaks early. In such cases, the risk of mother-to-child HIV spread was increased 4.5-fold.
‘In cases of multiple pregnancies in HIV-infected women, [physicians] must take into account the risk of preterm premature rupture of the membranes and preterm delivery,’ the investigators conclude. ‘In particular, we would recommend starting effective [anti-HIV] therapy no later than beginning of the second trimester.’”
This report emanated from Dr Laurent Mandelbrot of the University of Paris, courtesy ReutersHealth, 12 June 2007.
There’s an obvious need for more research into this strange phenomenon, in which the virus living in the mother is able to sense that she is bearing twins and thereupon makes an extra effort to send emissaries into the embryos or to have them hitch rides perinatally as the twins are being delivered. And if the virus foresees that the membranes are going to rupture prematurely, it sends its emissaries with redoubled efficiency.
For those poor skeptics who are not doing well by doing good (pace Tom Lehrer’s drug peddler)—doing well from grants for HIV/AIDS research, by doing good through inventing new antiretroviral drugs—this phenomenon does not present a research-worthy opportunity, however. Skeptics merely recall the Perth Group’s demonstration that testing HIV-positive is an indication of oxidative stress, and make the not-so-huge leap to the conclusion that bearing twins is more stressful than is a single-embryo pregnancy, and that the premature rupture of the membranes indicates the presence somewhere of some extra source of physiological stress.