(HealthDay News) — HIV infection is associated with a significantly decreased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study published online August 4 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
Julian Gold, MBBS, from the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney, and colleagues further examined the potential correlation between HIV and MS. They compared a cohort of 21,207 HIV-positive patients and 5,298,496 controls stratified by age, sex, year of first hospital admission, region of residence, and socioeconomic status. Follow-up was conducted by linkage with medical data sets.
The researchers found that, overall, the rate ratio of developing MS was 0.38 (95% confidence interval, 0.15–0.79) in those with HIV, compared to those without HIV.
“HIV infection is associated with a significantly decreased risk of developing MS,” the authors write. “Mechanisms of this observed possibly protective association may include immunosuppression induced by chronic HIV infection and antiretroviral medications.”