NEW YORK, Feb. 12 -- A previously unknown superstrain of the virus that causes AIDS has been diagnosed in a New York man who had unprotected sex with several men in October, sparking fears among health officials and gays.
The strain is drug-resistant and progressed in a matter of months from HIV infection to full-blown AIDS, a process that normally takes 10 or more years.
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"I've been living with HIV since 1981, and I was dreading this day, because I knew this day would come when multi-drug-resistant strains of the virus would begin to enter into the community," said Dennis de Leon, president of the Latino Commission on AIDS.
The virus is known technically as a strain of three-class antiretroviral-resistant HIV, or 3-DCR HIV. That means it is resistant to three of the four classes of drugs used to treat HIV. A combination of drugs from the four classes usually is needed to keep the virus in check.