Incidence of Drug-Resistant HIV Strains May Increase in Africa With Increased Availability of Antiretroviral Drugs
September 2, 2003
The increased availability of antiretroviral drugs in African countries with high HIV/AIDS prevalence rates may result in more drug-resistant HIV strains, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. National HIV/AIDS treatment programs, such as the one being developed in South Africa, and international aid for the provision of medicines to treat the disease cannot afford to downplay the risk of the development of multiple drug-resistant strains of HIV, Dr. Robert Gallo, a co-discoverer of HIV, said in July at an international AIDS conference. Gallo said in an interview with the Chronicle that providing unrestricted access to antiretroviral drugs could cause "multiple drug-resistant mutants of HIV which become epidemic and cause new kinds of epidemics in the future." HIV is "notoriously quick" to mutate when challenged by drugs, and the appearance of resistant strains is "sounding an alarm" in the medical community, according to the Chronicle. Studies have shown that 10% to 15% of all new HIV infections in the United States and Europe are resistant to some of the drugs.
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.