Resistance on the frontline of the AIDS war
Posted on February 18th, 2005
Finally it happened…the news we all feared, as if they hadn’t been enough bad news from the frontline trenches of the AIDS war. A new more lethal drug resistant strain of the HI virus has been discovered, not in Africa or any other part of the developing world for that matter, but in New York, USA.
But wait before I go on, lets take a moment to hark back a few years when AIDS activists, people with AIDS and those HIV+ were agitating for greater access, cheaper drugs and expanded treatment programs. Recall some of the reasons (excuses) dangers put forward for taking a cautious approach – such as unregulated, unrestricted use of drugs in the developing world and Africa in particular would lead to resistance… Recall the lurid and false claims of non compliance, lack of understanding etc would lead to disaster; all of which have proven false. Contrary to what people had said there is very good (better) treatment adherence in Africa.
There is a tragic irony in the discovery of a new lethal strain of the HI virus, evidence that AIDS is making a comeback in parts of US, even as the US announces that it has managed to wipe out paediatric aids, presumably without the help of the controversial nevaripine.
Has HIV/AIDS come full circle? One thing is for sure it will give ammunition to all those who have and still think AIDS was a gay disease spread by immoral life styles and practices into the lives of god fearing upstanding heterosexuals.
But even as it was being announced, there were health experts trying to downplay the significance of this discovery. This is a ridiculously complacent attitude to take. Complacency about the whole HIV/AIDS epidemic is why we are in situation we are now. To talk in terms of a rare strain of AIDS is misleading and deceptive. There was a time, remember two decades ago, when AIDS itself was considered a rare disease, a mere curiosity and look at it now. How soon, will this strain spread into the general population witness the explosive entry of AIDS in Eastern Europe?
Make no mistake the news is not only as bad as feared, it could be worse than our fears. It threatens to not only undermine fledgling treatment campaigns that are just getting off the ground, but also puts in doubt current prevention strategies and once again threatens us all.
Links to stories:
1. Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report Summarizes Editorials in Response to Detection of Rare, Drug-Resistant HIV Strain.
2.Experts Continue to Question Implications of Detection of Rare, Drug-Resistant HIV Strain.
3.Different HIV/AIDS Prevention Strategies Being Debated After Detection of Rare, Drug-Resistant HIV Strain
4.New York City Health Officials Announce Detection of Rare Drug-Resistant HIV Strain, Issue Alert