November 28, 2013 | by Staff reports
HIV strains resistant to drugs likely to spread
HIV, resistant, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, gay news, Washington Blade

Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 budding (in green) from cultured lymphocyte. (Public domain image by the CDC/C. Goldsmith, P. Feorino, E.L. Palmer and W.R. McManus)

LONDON — HIV-positive individuals who have never taken antiretroviral therapy (ART) are the main source of HIV drug resistance among gay men, according to Swiss researchers who published research results in Clinical Infectious Diseases, AIDSmap, a British AIDS Journal, reports.

Usually the source of transmitted drug resistance remains unknown. However, it is possible to see if infections are linked or clustered using a technique called phylogenetic analysis, the article said. Participants in a Swiss HIV Cohort Study were therefore linked with samples in a national drug resistance database to see if clusters of HIV infections involving transmitted drug resistance could be identified and if the potential source patients were taking HIV therapy or were antiretroviral naïve, meaning they had not.

Most people (81 percent) were infected with virus that was resistant to a single class of antiretrovirals, but 11 percent had resistance to drugs in two classes and 7 percent were resistant to drugs in all three main classes of anti-HIV drugs, the article said.

Well over half (58 percent) of the participants with transmitted resistance were associated with a transmission cluster where it was possible to identify at least one potential source individual.

Of the participants with transmitted resistance and an identified potential source, 86 percent (43 of 50) had at least one antiretroviral-naive patient as a potential source. In contrast, only 34 percent of patients with transmitted resistance belonged to clusters where there was a potential source patient who was taking HIV treatment.

Researchers said they believe their findings demonstrate the importance eartly “test-and-treat strategies” to prevent transmission of strains that are resistant to ART, the AIDSmap article said.

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