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Treatment in asymptomatic individuals may speed up the development of deadlier virus strains

Even as researchers creep closer to eliminating the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in some patients via intense multi-drug therapies and early treatment, researchers at the University of Southern California warn that the responsible treatment may give rise to new killer strains that resist drugs.

The USC study hits close to home as the Los Angeles county targets men who have sex with men (MSM) -- a high-risk group for HIV/AIDS -- with a so-called "test and treat" strategy.  The strategy pushes for universal testing -- particularly between MSM and other high-risk groups.  It calls for early retroviral drug treatment in individuals who test HIV positive.

The approach has thus far lowered the death rates and decreased the number of cases.

The USC researchers dug into data on MSM infections, which account for 82 percent of total known HIV infections nationwide.  Using data from the Centers for Disease Control, internal data, and knowledge of drug resistance, the researchers modeled the occurrence of drug resistant viral strains if the "test and treat" strategy was aggressively followed over the next several years.

The study suggests that the rates of multiple-drug-resistant HIV (MDR) could jump from 4.79 percent to 9.06 percent.

HIV treatment
Early HIV treatment may increase drug resistant viral strains.
[Image Source: Tomorrow Global]

The researchers say their results show a danger of over-treating the disease with drugs.  They suggest that while the widespread testing is a good idea, that the medical establishment should back off preemptive treatment in asymptomatic individuals.

USC Professor Neeraj Sood, who was a lead author on the study, suggests that much of the benefit comes from the knowledge of infection status.  He comments, "We’re not saying that testing everybody and treating everybody is bad. All we’re saying is that you should proceed with caution and closely monitor the prevalence of multi-drug-resistant HIV as you scale up the test and treat model.  Prior studies show a dramatic reduction in risk-taking behavior by individuals once they know their HIV-positive status."

The research was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and published in an edition of this month's Clinical Infectious Diseases journal.

Sources: USC [press release], Clinical Infectious Diseases [abstract]

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RE: Quicker Death or Drug Resistant HIV
By inighthawki on 3/26/2013 3:40:34 PM , Rating: 2
But NO, everyone's so intent on proving religion wrong that they missed the whole point science is trying to get across to us here. Having multiple partners is detrimental to society.

I'm fairly certain that the reason most people "engage in recreational sex with a large number of individuals" has nothing to do with religion, or proving it wrong.

RE: Quicker Death or Drug Resistant HIV
By superstition on 3/26/2013 8:56:35 PM , Rating: 2
Having multiple partners is detrimental to society.

Having a penis is detrimental, too. The penis abrades anal tissue, making penile anal sex the primary vehicle for HIV transmission. Testosterone is the cause of wars (death and destruction) and has been throughout human history.

Let's get rid of penises and testicles.

The fact is that a vast number of married men have "affairs". In fact, I will wager that 70% of married men will have sex outside their marriage at least once. The number may even be higher. I'd also love to see the number for those who would do this if they were 100% certain not to ever get caught.

Then there are the serial marriage people. They just change spouses like cars, one every so many years. Then they sit in judgement on gay people, claiming they shouldn't even be able to get married once.

My understanding is that humans, including women, are not monogamous by nature. So even marriage and other social pressure agents cannot completely quell the motivation toward having multiple partners.

By maugrimtr on 3/27/2013 10:46:05 AM , Rating: 2
Having multiple partners is perfectly natural for most species including Homo Sapiens. The idea of having a single partner is actually an outcome of limited resources, religious constraints on behavior, and acceptable social norms (imposed by one or both partners in a monogamous relationship).

There is actually no biological reason for monogamy. Quite the opposite, in fact, since males are driven to mate and fight over mates as an evolutionary priority to get our genes spread as much as possible. Our big brains simply got in the way when we invented stuff like "religion" :P. Not complaining about religion itself obviously - it's just not relevant when talking about biology.

As to the guy who feels so very very uncaring about HIV victims, you're an uncharitable ass. Not very religious of you at all. Suggest you read the Bible again.

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