Mutant strains of HIV resistant to new drugs

The Associated Press
Monday July 08, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO — Mutant, drug-resistant strains of HIV are growing among San Francisco’s newly infected gay men, a new study suggests. 

The results of the five-year study show an increase from 2.5 percent in 1996 to 13 percent in 2000 in those tested who were resistant to two different classes of drugs. 

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. The results were presented at the 14th International AIDS Conference being held July 7-12 in Barcelona, Spain. 

“Some people are becoming infected with a virus that is much more difficult to treat,” said Dr. Frederick Hecht, the study’s co-author and a San Francisco General Hospital AIDS specialist. 

He said the study is important because patterns found among HIV-infected men in San Francisco often provide a blueprint for how the epidemic will evolve in other cities. 

The study found that resistance to the latest class of AIDS drugs developed quickly. The mutated viruses also are being spread by those who are undergoing treatment, the study found. 

However, Hecht cautioned interpreting the results to mean mutant viruses are more dangerous.