Are South Asians more susceptible to AIDS?

From the BBC:

“Indians infected with the Aids virus are more likely to contract the disease than people in the west, a new study has found.

Scientists say that Indians have lower immunity to the virus because they have genes that hasten the disease.

India says more than five million of its citizens are infected with the HIV virus, second only to South Africa.

Activists say the number of Indians affected by HIV/Aids is much higher than the government says.

Scientists at India’s premier medical school, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), studied 200 people with HIV infection and 2000 healthy people over two years for the study.

They found that the HLA-B*35-Px gene linked to rapid progression from HIV infection to Aids is ‘two-and-a-half times’ more common in Indians than a protective gene called HLA-B*35-Py.

They also found that that a ‘protective variant’ of chemokines – intracellular messenger molecules whose major function is to attract immune cells to sites of infection – was not present among Indians.”