Alert: Drug Resistant AIDS on the Rise
AIDS experts at the conference are encouraging the world’s governments not to cut funding because AIDS mutations, which are resistant to drugs, are on the rise.
From Al Jazeera:
The study indicated that tiny genetic mutations that make HIV immune to key frontline drugs have been increasing in eastern and southern Africa and should be a clear warning to health watchdogs.
Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the European Union, the study is the widest-ever analysis of its kind. It looked at published cases of HIV resistance and supplemented this with data from the World Health Organisation.
Researchers Silvia Bertagnolio from the UN’s WHO and Ravindra Gupta at University College London found that the prevalence of resistant viruses in untreated people soared from around one per cent to 7.3 per cent in eastern Africa, and from one per cent to 3.7 per cent in southern Africa, over an eight-year period.
Similar rates of 3.5-7.6 per cent were also found in western and central Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
The mutations, found in strains of the HIV-1 virus, made them resistant to first-option treatments that are used to control the virus and prevent transmission of it from pregnant women to their foetuses.
“We must resolve together never to go backwards,” said Dr Elly Katabira, president of the International AIDS Society.
“Future generations are counting on our courage to think big, be bold and seize the opportunity before us,” said Dr Diane Havlir of the University of California, San Francisco, a co-chair of the conference.
Researchers say that there is hope on the horizon though because they are developing the ability to make AIDS infected persons less infections, and thus less likely to pass on the disease.
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