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New HIV Strain Has Experts Concerned

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Updated August 13, 2005

Researchers led by Dr. David Ho are expressing concern over a newly discovered HIV strain that is especially aggressive, progressing to AIDS in a few months compared to several years with common HIV strains. The strain was first seen in a patient in New York City who was diagnosed in December 2004. Since that time, the patient has developed wasting and is found to be resistant to several classes of HIV medications. While some HIV strains are resistant to HIV treatments or are more aggressive than others, this new strain seems to be both, making it especially deadly.

While experts are still trying to pinpoint the source of the strain, researchers in California have found a similar strain. The question remains; are these aggressive strains just isolated cases or are we on the verge of a new strain that will further complicate HIV/AIDS care around the world.

UPDATE:
Four months after the initial announcement of this "super strain" of HIV, there have been no further cases reported...even in the original patient's known partners. The patient in question is doing well on HIV therapy, prompting some to believe that initial fears may have been premature.

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