January 17, 2010

January 17, 2010
Drug Resistant HIV Strains

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Sunday and it is another beautiful day in south Florida. I will not gloat about how warm it is since I know many of my friends are still suffering through very cold temperatures and winter in other parts of the country. I hope you are having a safe and great weekend so far.

Luckily with the warm weather, I am able to take the dogs for their walks and enjoy the sunshine myself. I am still having some problems with balance and using my left side since the stroke. But I know it could be much worse so I will not complain and be thankful I am still alive and able to function for the most part.

I came across some disturbing news about medicine resistant HIV again so I would like to talk about the subject matter today. I know I preach about always using safe sex whether you are in a relationship or not. But this new news is just one more reason to say it again.

A team of researchers have just published a study on the website for the journal Science that forecasts drug-resistant strains of HIV emerging within the next five years. Scientists developed a ground-breaking computer model to study and predict current trends with the virus to arrive at the bleak news.

New research based on a novel mathematical model predicts that a wave of drug resistant HIV strains will emerge in San Francisco within the next five years. These strains could prove disastrous by hindering control of the HIV pandemic.

The model showed that surprisingly many of the drug resistant HIV strains that have evolved over the past last 10 years in San Francisco are much more transmissible than had been previously thought. The researchers predict these strains are likely to cause a new wave of drug resistance within the next five years.

"This is not just about San Francisco," said senior author Sally Blower, director of UCLA's Center for Biomedical Modeling and a member of the UCLA AIDS Institute. "It is basically about many other communities in resource rich countries and has significant implications for global health. San Francisco is like the canary in the mine. In fact, the most significant implications of our work are for countries where treatment is just being rolled out.

The researchers began the study by using their model to analyze data from San Francisco. They modeled the evolution of drug resistant strains over the past 20 years and predicted their spread over the next five years, according to co first author Robert Smith, who was a postdoctoral fellow in Blower's lab when the research was conducted.

"What was very disturbing was we found that some of the drug resistant strains were increasing," said Smith, now an assistant professor in the department of mathematics and statistics at the University of Ottawa.

The researchers' model was able to explain this increase, said Justin T. Okano, the other co first author on the study and a research associate in Blower's group.

"Our model showed that what is going on in San Francisco is very complicated but in a nutshell, it is due to the bug, the drugs and sex," he said.

Now I know a lot of men hate using condoms for various stated reasons. I just think that sex with anyone is not worth catching a strain of HIV that medications will not work to keep you alive.

Those are my thoughts. What about yours? Drop me a line and let me know.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope and happiness.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab