Saturday, February 12, 2005

New Drug-Resistant HIV Strain Found In Gay NYC Man

THIS IS NOT GOOD AT ALL . THIS BRINGS UP OLD FEAR OF WHAT IT USED TO BE LIKE WHEN I WAS DIAGNOSED. A NEW STRAIN HAS BEEN FOUND. PEOPLE WE NEED TO BE VIGILANT. THIS ALONG WITH THE NEW STD'S THAT HAVE BEEN FOUND IN SOME MEN IN THE U.S. AND EUROPE, THIS IS NOT A COINCIDENCE. THIS IS A PROBLEM !!


by Doug Windsor 365Gay.com New York Bureau

Posted: February 11, 2005 5:01 pm. ET

(New York City) A highly resistant strain of rapidly progressive HIV has been diagnosed for the first time in a New York City resident who had not previously undergone antiviral drug treatment, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said Friday.

The strain of three-class antiretroviral-resistant HIV -or 3-DCR HIV - does not respond to three classes of anti-retroviral medication, and also appears to greatly shorten the interval between HIV infection and the onset of AIDS.

The patient is a male in his mid-40s who reported multiple male sex partners and unprotected anal intercourse, often while using crystal methamphetamine (crystal meth).

He was first diagnosed with HIV in December 2004 and appears to have been recently infected. The diagnosis of 3-DCR HIV was made shortly thereafter at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center. Since then, the patient has developed AIDS. DOHMH is counseling and offering HIV testing to those contacts of the patient who have been identified.

While drug resistance is increasingly common among patients who have been treated for HIV, cases of 3-DCR HIV in newly-diagnosed, previously untreated patients are extremely rare, and the combination of this pattern of drug resistance and rapid progression to AIDS may not have been seen previously.

Strains of 3-DCR HIV are resistant to three of the four available types of antiviral drugs that are most commonly prescribed: nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, and protease inhibitors.

This strain also caused a rapid onset of AIDS, the health department said. Usually full blown AIDS occurs more than ten years after initial infection with HIV. In this patient's case, onset of AIDS appears to have occurred within two to three months, and at most 20 months, after HIV infection.

Health Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH said, "This case is a wake-up call. First, it's a wake up call to men who have sex with men, particularly those who may use crystal methamphetamine."

"Not only are we seeing syphilis and a rare sexually transmitted disease - lymphogranuloma venereum - among these men, now we've identified this strain of HIV that is difficult or impossible to treat and which appears to progress rapidly to AIDS. This community successfully reduced its risk of HIV in the 1980s, and it must do so again to stop the devastation of HIV/AIDS and the spread of drug-resistant strains," he said.

"Second, doctors in New York City must increase HIV prevention counseling, increase HIV testing, obtain drug susceptibility testing for patients testing HIV-positive who have not yet been treated, improve adherence to antiretroviral treatment, and improve notification of partners of HIV-infected patients.

"Third, the public health community has to improve our monitoring of both HIV treatment and of HIV drug resistance, and we have to implement prevention strategies that work."

The Health Department recently issued a Health Alert to physicians, hospitals and other medical providers asking them to test all previously untreated patients newly diagnosed cases for anti-HIV drug susceptibility.

"The rapidly growing crystal meth epidemic in New York city continues to play a significant role in facilitating the transmission of HIV," said Dr. Antonio Urbina, Medical Director of HIV education and training, at St. Vincent's Medical Center.

"In light of the emergence of this virulent new strain, health care providers must be especially vigilant in not only recognizing and diagnosing HIV infection, but also in recognizing the signs and symptoms of crystal methamphetamine use in their patients," Urbina said.

The Department of Health is monitoring laboratories for additional cases of 3-DCR HIV in newly diagnosed persons. DOHMH is also working with New York State to establish a long-term system for monitoring drug resistance in HIV-positive patients who have not yet undergone treatment.

"Patients who are on treatment for HIV/AIDS and are doing well do not need susceptibility testing unless advised to by their physician," Dr. Frieden added.

©365Gay.com 2005


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