One-Quarter of New HIV Cases in United Kingdom Already Drug-Resistant, Researchers Say
Approximately 25% of individuals newly infected with HIV in the United Kingdom are infected with a mutated form of the virus that is resistant to some HIV/AIDS treatments, researchers said on Tuesday at the Public Health Laboratory Service annual scientific conference, Reuters Health reports. Dr. Deenan Pillay of the PHLS Antiviral Susceptibility Reference Unit said that such drug-resistant HIV strains can be transmitted from one person to another. He added that individuals initially infected with such strains of the virus have a "reduced" range of available treatment options. Researchers at the conference also presented findings that contradicted an earlier hypothesis that proposed that drug-resistant viruses in newly infected individuals continue to mutate and could lose their drug resistance. Pillay said that researchers observed people who had been initially infected with a drug-resistant HIV strain and found that the resistant viruses were still present up to five years after infection. Pillay said that such research underscores the importance of HIV prevention and the need for universal testing for drug resistance of those who are already HIV-positive (Pincock, Reuters Health, 9/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.