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Drug resistance
is high among U.K. HIV patients

Drug resistance
is high among U.K. HIV patients

New research reports that HIV-positive people in the United Kingdom have one of the world's highest levels of drug resistance, and the rate continues to increase. The resulting reduction in treatment effectiveness represents "a major clinical and public health problem," according to the report's authors.

The U.K. Group on Transmitted HIV Drug Resistance based its research on 2,357 HIV patients from 1996 to 2003. Of these, 335 evidenced some degree of resistance to one or more anti-HIV drugs. While 257 were resistant to only one class, 44 were resistant to drugs in two classes, and 34 were resistant to drugs in three classes. This equates to a resistance rate of 14% for the full study period, rising to 19% for 2002-2003.

The United Kingdom's rate of resistance was higher than that in other industrialized nations. Among HIV patients in the United States, drug resistance is estimated at 7%. The resistance rate is 6% for France and 10% elsewhere in Europe.

The full report, titled "Time Trends in Primary Resistance to HIV Drugs in the United Kingdom: Multicentre Observational Study," appears in the British Medical Journal. (Reuters)

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