Health officials have detected what could be an aggressive new strain of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, in a New York City man. The patient began developing AIDS between two and 20 months after he was infected, a progression that usually takes 10 years, and his strain of the virus is resistant to 19 of the 20 licensed anti-retroviral drugs. Doctors rushed to examine two HIV-infected men the patient had recently had sexual contact with, to determine whether they had the same “supervirus.” Dr. Ronald Valdiserri of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control called the strain’s drug resistance and rapid course “a particularly dangerous combination.” Health authorities said they worried that the strain could spread rapidly, as the man had had hundreds of sexual contacts in recent months.
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