AIDS Cocktail Resistance Grows in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO-Researchers from the University of California recently published an article in the journal Nature Medicine estimating that 42% of HIV infections in the Bay area will be resistant to current AIDS drugs by 2005.

This percentage has steadily increased since 1996. In 1999, 28.5% of AIDS cases were resistant to current technologies. The predicted percentage is continuing to fuel the race to discover new pharmaceuticals and treatment options for those infected.

Within the same research, the report states that mutant viral strains resistant to AIDS drugs are actually less dangerous that their wild counterparts. It typically takes and AIDS patient three years to lose the T-cells they gained from antiviral therapy.

Sally Blower, a UCLA biomathematician, is responsible for the prediction. Blower, using a computer program she developed, bases her infection system on her previous research in determining the risk of nuclear plant meltdowns. She has been using her infection prediction software for a decade. It does not, however, take into account the possibility of transmission of drug-resistant strains to those already infected with the virus.

With the report, researchers are expected to refocus on methods of reducing drug resistance and developing new therapies for those already infected with drug-resistant strains.

Researchers estimate there are 18,000 people living in San Francisco with HIV.

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