AIDS Experts Voice
Fears Of New
Super-HIV Virus
LONDON (Reuters) - British AIDS experts said on Friday that they feared that gaps in the treatment of HIV patients could lead to the creation of a super-HIV virus. They voiced their concern after Crusaid, a national AIDS charity, published the results of a MORI poll of specialists in Britain that showed inequalities in treatments across the country.
``The results of this study are a real cause of concern because we know that ineffective HIV treatment causes the evolution of drug-resistant 'super-HIV' which can then be transmitted to new patients,'' Dr James Deutsch, a biologist and chief executive of Crusaid, said in a statement. ``Only by providing patients across the country with up-to-date, effective treatment can we stop the development of a new epidemic resistant to the current drugs.'' The telephone survey of 110 British specialists found that only half of them consistently prescribed the latest triple drug therapies, which tackle the HIV virus that causes AIDS, for patients in the later stages of the illness. One third of the doctors also recommended patients seek treatment outside their local health authority so they could have better access to clinical programmes.
``The findings of this study clearly shows that there are variations in access to therapeutic options across the U.K.,'' said Mr Mike Youle, an HIV specialist at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London. ``There are worrying indications of the fairly widespread use of low strength combinations (of drugs) which if inappropriately used may compromise future therapy choices.'' Youle said the results of the poll show that clearer mandates are needed to allow patients and their doctors to use all available antiretroviral and other HIV treatments regardless of where they live in the country.
There is no cure for AIDS but promising drug combinations which include protease inhibitors that block an enzyme that is crucial for the replication of the virus have given new hope and extended the lives of thousands of sufferers.

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