U.S. public health officials say an unidentified New York City man has been diagnosed with a new HIV strain that has so far not responded to any anti-AIDS drugs. The unidentified man in his mid-40's became infected with a drug resistant form of the virus that causes AIDS after having unprotected sex with other men while using crystal methamphetamine, an addictive stimulant.
New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said officials know little else about the man. "We don't know for certain precisely when he was infected although further laboratory tests may shed light on that. And we don't know how he will do in the future," he said.
Officials say they don't know how many people the man may have infected. He was diagnosed with what turned out the be the drug resistant strain of HIV in late 2004 after years of having unprotected anal sex with other men.
Health officials say they've tried three commonly prescribed drugs on the man without success. He is now receiving a fourth drug.
Infectious diseases specialist Jay Dobkin of the State University of New York worries that HIV could again become an unmanageable disease. "Many of us up here remember the dark days before there was any effective treatment for HIV. And I think the case... should be a reminder that those days could come back," he said.
While it's not unusual for anti-viral drugs to become less effective or stop working in people who have been infected with HIV for a long time, experts say they have never seen drug resistance develop so quickly, either in the United States or abroad.