Detection of Drug-Resistant HIV Strain ‘Chilling Warning’ That Better Prevention, Treatment Needed, Editorial Says
Scientists' and public health officials' announcement last month that they had detected a rare, drug-resistant HIV strain in a New York City man should serve as a "chilling warning" that "[w]e can't become complacent about AIDS," an Arizona Republic editorial says (Arizona Republic, 3/2). Officials from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on Feb. 11 announced that they had detected the HIV strain, which is resistant to most antiretroviral drugs and possibly causes a rapid onset of AIDS. The city health department issued an alert to physicians, hospitals and medical providers asking them to test all HIV-positive patients for evidence of the strain. This combination of highly drug-resistant HIV and rapid progression to AIDS had not been identified before (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/1). The alert should serve as a worldwide "call to action" to "continue ramping up prevention and treatment" because HIV has the potential to "outflank us with drug-resistant forms," the editorial says. "We need to fight this battle on many fronts," including increasing access to health care, getting more people to undergo HIV testing and increasing HIV/AIDS public awareness campaigns, according to the Republic. Although "[t]here's no cure for AIDS," the United States "can do a better job" of treating and preventing the spread of the disease "[a]t home and abroad," the editorial concludes (Arizona Republic, 3/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.