Emerging New HIV-Like Infectious Disease in China
This website provides news and information on an emerging so-called "HIV-like" pathogen spreading throughout China, and quite likely across other countries around the world. This information is derived from published scientific studies on the "HIV-like" disease, from Chinese research laboratory reports, Chinese hospital reports, Chinese media articles, as well as from web forums and the blogs of infected patients themselves.
This new "HIV-like" pathogen was first noticed in 2003, and is characterized by its ability to cause a significant overall deterioration in physical and mental health in a subset of individuals who catch it. The physical symptoms of the virus include chronic sore throat, white tongue coating, constantly twitching muscles, cracking joints sounds when limbs are moved, peeling flaky skin, fatigue, stomach ache, burping and chronic flatulence. The virus can also induce a sudden onset of powerful, persistent mental state changes, including: extreme anxiety, anhedonia, and suicidal ideation.
This virus transmits via saliva, and nearly always infects all members of a household within a few months (and often within weeks), once one family member has caught the pathogen and brought it into the home. A small percentage of the individuals who catch this new "HIV-like" virus become ill, but most people who catch it do not manifest any significant symptoms (this is not unusual for a virus: poliovirus, for example, paralyzed a small percentage of people, but was completely asymptomatic in most individuals).
The incubation period of this new "HIV-like" pathogen appears to be around 2 to 3 days (this is the time it takes for the first symptoms of this disease to appear after the initial exposure to the pathogen). Around 7 to 14 days after the initial exposure to the virus, many of the disease symptoms will have manifested.
This new "HIV-like" virus is probably not transmitted sexually, but is easily transmitted by kissing, which often takes place during sex. Individuals who catch this virus through sex may mistakenly think they have caught a sexual disease, but this is a respiratory virus that spreads via saliva.
In fact, once someone catches this pathogen, it quickly spreads to others, such as family, friends and work colleagues, by ordinary social contact. This indicates the virus should not to be considered a sexually transmitted pathogen, even though it is often caught from kissing during sex with a new partner (or from a prostitute — there are many reports from China of this virus being caught from sex with a prostitute, even protected sex).
The mental symptoms that this pathogen induces are the most problematic: this "HIV-like" virus can cause the sudden onset of severe psychological symptoms, including: constant extreme anxiety states (generalized anxiety disorder), depression, anhedonia, suicidal ideation, poor memory and cognitive dysfunction. These mental state changes appear to be caused by the virus's affect on the brain.
Due to the extreme anxiety states biochemically precipitated by this virus (and because it is often caught during sex), some infected people become extremely fearful that they may have caught HIV, and this fear leads them to take repeated HIV tests — sometimes 10 or more tests — even though the results are always negative. The extreme anxiety states precipitated by this virus impair judgement and disturb normal thought processes, resulting in the irrational behavior of taking the HIV test over and over again. Nevertheless, it is wrong to ignore these infected people, as they do have a significant neurological viral infection that biochemically causes severe anxiety, and therefore these people are in a very high state of suffering. In the first instance, they may need medication to reduce anxiety levels.
Because of the extreme anxiety states triggered by this neurological pathogen, and because of the multiple HIV tests that some patients with this pathogen take, doctors in China have dubbed it the "fear of AIDS virus".
However, several major laboratories in China, including the Pasteur Institute of Shanghai and the Chinese CDC, have investigated the patients infected with this new pathogen and have determined that this pathogen is not a mutated HIV virus or a new HIV strain. So this fear of AIDS is unwarranted.
Nevertheless, although patients test negative for HIV, some of the infected patients are found to have slightly low CD4 cell count, and in all cases, this Chinese "HIV-like" pathogen causes a chronic, persistent infection that does not disappear. However, patients with low CD4 counts may see their counts return to normal after a few years, and some patients also experience a degree of remission from their symptoms after around two years with this pathogen.
The Chinese government have tended to deny that this "HIV/AIDS-like" pathogen exists, though many research scientists and doctors in China are aware of this "HIV-like" disease, and have no doubts about its reality. However, to an extent, Chinese government censorship prevents these scientists and doctors from voicing their views too loudly.
Symptoms of the Chinese "HIV-Like" Disease
Many of the following symptoms manifest in susceptible patients who contract the Chinese "HIV-Like" pathogen:
General Symptoms• Continuous low-grade fever and flu-like feeling • Loss of appetite • Drowsiness • Ongoing fatigue and weakness, with mental and physical fatigue after exertion • Poor unrefreshing sleep • Night sweats • Weight loss in the first 3 months; later there is often extra weight gain on the abdomen (central obesity) • Inability to tolerate alcohol, with one or two drinks causing dizziness and higher inebriation than normal • Candida albicans infections.
Throat• Chronic sore throat • Chronic severe nasal congestion • Nasal cavity infections • Dry mouth • Oral ulcers.
Tongue• White tongue coating, sometimes with red spots on the tongue (see pictures of symptoms).
Gums• Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) • Bleeding gums • Gum hyperemia • Teeth may become loose.
Eyes• Red bloodshot eyes (conjunctivitis) • Eye pain • Eye swelling • Twitching eyelids • Vision may deteriorate.
Skin• Systemic red rash (purpura rash) • Peeling skin particularly on palms of hands and soles of feet (see pictures of symptoms) • Skin on face becomes oily • Skin becomes stiff and loses its elasticity, such that indentations made by finger pressure take a long time (about 5 seconds) to disappear • Subcutaneous nodules (nodular subepidermal fibrosis) may appear (see pictures of symptoms) • Loss of subcutaneous fat • Slow wound healing.
Nails and Hair• Nail loss • Loss or reduction of the white crescent-shaped area (lunula) at the base of fingernails • Hair loss on the head as well as on the body.
Torso• Chronic severe chest pain • Chest tightness • Backache • Shortness of breath • Fast heart rate (tachycardia).
Muscles and Peripheral Nerves• Persistent paresthesias ("pins and needles") • A feeling of having insects under the skin • Hand and feet numbness • Constantly twitching muscles (benign fasciculation syndrome) • Muscle pain.
Joints and Bones• Joints make cracking or popping sounds when moved (crepitus is the medical term for this sound) • Overall pain and soreness of joints (arthralgias) • Joints may become deformed • Bone pain (osteodynia).
Stomach and Intestines• Abdominal pain • Stomach ache • Nausea • Chronic diarrhea • Chronic flatulence • Belching and burping (due to excess stomach gas) • Loose stools • Melena (dark sticky stools of partly digested blood) • Blood in stool (mostly transient) • Mucus in stool.
Lymph Nodes• Swollen lymph nodes (especially in the lower jaw, and groin) • Lymph node pain.
Organ Damage and Organ Hardening• Systemic organ damage (to liver, gallbladder, kidney, lung, intestine) • Visceral organs start to harden (possibly similar to a scleroderma or fibrosis reaction?) • Thyroid enlargement (thyroid hypertrophy).
Neurological Symptoms• Dizziness, tinnitus, vertigo • Loss of hearing • Headache • Some patients may experience an episode of viral meningitis.
Psychological Changes• Extreme generalized anxiety disorder • Depression • Anhedonia (loss of ability to experience pleasure or reward from life's activities) • Suicidal ideation • Poor memory, confusion and cognitive dysfunction (brain fog).
ImmunologicalA 2013 study at the Third Military Medical University examining 52 patients with the Chinese "HIV-like" pathogen found that 33% of patients have low CD4 cells, less than 500 CD4 cells per mm3 (normal CD4 counts are in the range of 500 to 1500 cells per mm3), 31% have an abnormal CD4/CD8 ratio, 37% had interferon gamma auto-antibodies, 75% are positive for Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria by skin test.
A 2011 study at the Peking Union Medical College examining the blood lymphocytes of 23 patients with the "HIV-like" pathogen found that 83% had a CD4 count of greater than 500 CD4 cells per mm3, and 17% of patients had CD4 counts between 300 and 500 cells per mm3, with the lowest count being 307 cells per mm3. The study found a few patients had an inverse CD4/CD8 ratio, but without excessive CD8 activation.
An 2010 examination by the Chinese CDC of 23 patients with the "HIV-like" pathogen found that 14% of patients had low CD4 counts less than 450 CD4 cells per mm3.
Professor Li Taisheng in 2009? examined 40 patients with the "HIV-like" pathogen, and found that in 40%, the CD4 count is low, but the CD8 count in normal (only 8% of patients had a slightly high CD8). Dr Cai Weiping said that a CD4 cell counts of 500 per mm3 or higher are normal, counts between 350 to 500 per mm3 are mildly abnormal, and counts between 350 to 200 per mm3 are moderately abnormal. Weiping said that the CD4 counts of patients with the "HIV-like" pathogen are almost all normal, or mildly abnormal.
Zhong Nanshan said that in the patients with the "HIV-like" virus, complement system components C3 and C4 are low.
Transmission of the Chinese "HIV-Like" Virus
This "HIV/AIDS-like" virus in China transmits via saliva, and thus this pathogen can spread easily by kissing. There are reports that this pathogen can also be spread by body sweat. A person infected with this pathogen remains able to infect others for a long period of time.
Normal Chinese mealtime custom involves family members sharing food from the same plate with their chopsticks; this may allow saliva from one infected person's mouth to contaminate the food, and then infect other family members. This sharing of food custom may explain why this pathogen is spreading fast in China.
The first year is the worst period for most patients with this Chinese "HIV-like" disease, but after a year or two, many patients report that their symptoms improve. The intense chest pain and severe generalized anxiety disorder tend to go away after a year or two with the "HIV-like" virus, and the severe anhedonia and its attendant suicidal ideation also tend to improve after this time. As mentioned above, laboratory reports show that low CD4 counts may also return to normal after a few years with this virus.
So for those who have just caught this virus, the hardest part is getting through the first year or so of intense chest pain, severe anxiety, and horrendous anhedonia with suicidal ideation, waiting for these symptoms to diminish. Many patients in China also report anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements are generally beneficial for treating the symptoms of the "HIV-like" virus.
However, many symptoms do remain indefinitely, including the fatigue, joint pains, gum problems, and skin symptoms.
Sources for above information: