New York City health officials reported this week at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2005 National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta that a rare multidrug-resistant strain of HIV detected in a New York man in February is an isolated case and not the emergence of an HIV "superstrain" as they had initially feared, the New York Post reports. Health officials said in February that a gay man had contracted a form of HIV resistant to nearly every anti-HIV drug and that it appeared to progress rapidly from HIV infection to the onset of AIDS, perhaps within just a few months instead of the 10 years or more typically associated with HIV progression. The health department issued an alert to doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals in the region to be on the lookout for other cases of the rare superstrain and warned gay men that they could be at risk for particularly virulent HIV infection.
But additional analysis has shown the case is likely an isolated incident, city health officials now say. "This could have been very bad, but our worst fears haven't been realized," city assistant health commissioner Scott Kellerman told the Post. "We're never going to really know for sure if this is a severe case of primary HIV infection or whether this represented something brand-new or something completely different. No patients with identical strains have been identified by the big labs in our attempts to find out whether this was more widespread, but the investigation is ongoing. It suggests that this might be an isolated incident."