Rate of Drug Resistance High, Increasing Among HIV-Positive Individuals in United Kingdom
The rate of antiretroviral drug resistance among HIV-positive individuals living in the United Kingdom is one of the highest in the world and appears to be increasing, according to a study published in the Nov. 18 issue of BMJ, Reuters reports. The study, conducted by the UK Group on Transmitted HIV Drug Resistance, tracked 2,357 HIV-positive people in the United Kingdom between 1996 and 2003. Researchers found that 335 individuals showed some degree of resistance to one or more antiretroviral drugs. Thirty-four patients showed resistance to drugs in the three most widely used classes of antiretrovirals, 44 people showed resistance to drugs in two classes and 257 showed resistance to one class of antiretroviral drugs, according to researchers (Reuters, 11/17). An average of 14% of HIV-positive patients in the study showed some drug resistance, but the rate appears to be rising, with 19% of the patients in the study showing some resistance between 2002 and 2003 (BBC News, 11/18). In comparison, about 7% of HIV-positive patients in the U.S. are resistant to some antiretrovirals, about 6% of patients in France and 10% in other parts of Europe. The researchers warned that an increase in the proportion of people infected with drug-resistant HIV could decrease the effectiveness of available antiretrovirals and cause "a major clinical and public health problem" (Reuters, 11/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.