San Francisco Could See Uptick in Drug-Resistant HIV Strains, Study Says
San Francisco could face mini-epidemics of drug-resistant HIV as the virus continues to evolve and develop resistance to established therapies, according to a new study published in the journal Science, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
For the study, scientists from UCLA and UC-San Francisco found that drug-resistant HIV strains were becoming increasingly adept at spreading among populations.
The study estimated that about 60% of the drug-resistant HIV strains in San Francisco are communicable enough to create small-scale epidemics among the HIV-positive population.
Researchers said the uptick in drug-resistant HIV could stem from the country's emphasis on early detection and treatment. They noted that people who remain on medication regimens for long periods of time are more likely to develop a drug-resistant strain.
Public Health Response
In response to the study, San Francisco health officials stressed that they did not consider drug-resistant HIV to be a public health crisis.
Public health officials and the study's authors called for physicians to continue pursuing early treatment for HIV-positive patients.
The study's authors also recommended that physicians prepare backup plans in case a patient develops drug-resistant HIV.
In addition, the public health community should continue devoting resources to HIV testing and treatment research, they said (Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.