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Dr. Kim Mulvihill ReportingA dangerously virulent strain of HIV has shown up for the first time in the United States. Not only is it resistant to almost all drug treatments, it also progresses rapidly to full-blown AIDS.
This strain of HIV is difficult, if not impossible, to treat. What's alarming is that the infection may have progressed to full-blown AIDS in only two to three months.
New York public health officials today delivered the grim news. In October 2004, a man in his forties had unprotected anal sex with multiple partners, often while using crystal methamphetamine. In December he was diagnosed with HIV. In February he was diagnosed with AIDS.
It's a wakeup call to the community of men who have sex with men, that there is an urgent need to reduce unsafe sex, particularly in conjunction with drug use, particularly with the use of crystal Methamphetamine.
Health experts believe the drug may reduce a person's inhibitions, and increase the risk of unsafe sex. The progression from HIV to aids usually takes a decade, and can be controlled with powerful drugs. This strain proves otherwise. New York doctors believe this case progressed from HIV to aids anywhere from two months to a year and a half.
This case of initial infection was transmitted with a virus that was resistant to 19 of the 20 available drugs that are out there to treat HIV.
Dr. Rick Hecht, an aids experts at UCSF, is concerned. He says the situation may have more to do with the patient's immune system than the virus itself. Until more is known, he says prevention is key.
I think we've always known HIV, even with treatment, is something you want to avoid getting. This doesn't change that. I think it’s more of a reminder that you still need to be careful to avoid in getting HIV.
The news is a red flag warning. You can get infected with a strain of HIV that's resistant to multiple drugs, it could progress quickly to full blown AIDS, and that is almost always deadly.