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virus mutation
Jan 19, 2005

I have a question after reading articles that many patients are now dealing with mutated strains of hiv because they are not taking their meds as needed. does that mean if these patients were to pass the hiv onto a healthy person that person too would have the drug resistant strain also???? If that is the case would it be fair to say that people infected say 5 years ago are better off than a newly infected person??

Response from Dr. Sherer

Once a resistance mutation has been acquired and becomes part of the dominant species, it certainly can be transmitted to other people. There is evidence that this is happening frequently, e.g. in 7-12% of new infections in urban centers in the United States, and as often as 15% in urban centers across the world.

While it's not possible to say that a person with wild type virus (i.e. virus without mutations) is 'better off' than one who has acquired a resistance mutation, since there are more treatment options in 2005, there is evidence that an acquired resistance mutation carries a disadvantage, in that it acts in much the same way as an acquired mutation by compromising the response to some ART therapy.


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