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NYC's First Rapid HIV Drug-resistant AIDS Case Prompts Call to Step Up HIV Prevention

New York City's Public Health Department today issued a public health advisory after reporting the first documented case of an alarming, new, rapidly-progressing and highly drug resistant strain of HIV in a New York man who progressed from his initial HIV infection, thought to have occurred in mid-October 2004, to a largely untreatable strain of AIDS in just three months.

According to City health officials, the man -- who had previously had five negative HIV tests done by his private physician between September 2000 and May 2003 -- had unprotected sex with numerous male partners in mid-October, reported feeling unwell in late October and November, and subsequently had positive ELISA and Western Blot (HIV tests) documented in mid-December. The individual then progressed to a diagnosis of highly drug-resistant AIDS by mid-January. Ordinarily, it has taken up to ten years for an untreated individual to progress from HIV infection to an AIDS defining illness and diagnosis.

"It appears this individual has contracted a new, particularly virulent strain of HIV that swiftly advanced to AIDS in just a few short months," said Charles Farthing, MD, AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Chief of Medicine. "Unfortunately, it also seems that few of the AIDS treatments currently available today can be used in his case, as his particular strain of infection appears to be resistant to most known AIDS drugs. AIDS care providers see many cases of patients with a high degree of some drug resistance; however, doctors and providers can usually find a second or third line drug therapy regimen for effective treatment. This man's strain of infection appears to be much more pathogenic, much more able to wreak havoc with his immune system, and medical providers and public health officials are being well-advised to work closely together to monitor -- and hopefully prevent transmission of -- this strain of the virus by encouraging gay men, in particular, to practice safer sex and use cond
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Source:AIDS Healthcare Foundation


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