Fungus found in rice, wheat and nuts threatens AIDS epidemic

A new research found that a type of fungus coating is more found in the stored corn, wheat, rice and nuts in developing countries which will  quietly worsening the AIDS epidemic.

The food stores near the equator are contaminated by Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus, fungi that produce a toxic substance called aflatoxin.

About 4.5 billion people are exposed to aflatoxin with chronic exposure, linked to liver damage and related cancers; as it is the spread of infectious disease could make it even more deadly.
” aflatoxin exposure may be taking an even greater where millions are infected with HIV, including Africa and Asia, and rice storage areas contaminated by fungi,” Pauline Jolly, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), said. Continuous monitoring and strict regulations minimize exposure in the United States.

Jolly and her team found 314 HIV-positive people who were not yet on antiretroviral therapy for the study in Kumasi, Ghana.

They divided patients into four groups based on their level of aflatoxin exposure and found that the highest exposure were 2.6 times more HIV viral load than in the lowest exposure group.

Higher viral load translates into higher rates of HIV transmission and the potential for earlier progression to the opportunistic infections of AIDS.

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