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Mutated HIV viruses discovered in Cuba progresses to AIDS twice as fast as the average strain of the disease

Cause for worry?

The Independent UK…

The strain – which is actually a mix of three subtypes of human immunodeficiency virus – can progress to Aids within three years if left untreated, according to reports. The average HIV strain advances to Aids in six to 10 years.

Mutated HIV viruses are more difficult to diagnose and the rapid nature of the new Cuban strain make it difficult to treat those with HIV before it is too late. Researchers have identified more than 60 strains of HIV type 1 because of mutations.

A team of researchers from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, led by Professor Anne-Mieke Vandamme, studied patients at the Institute for Tropical Medicine Pedro Kouri in Havana, Cuba, the Seattle Times reported.

The researchers studied 73 patients who had tested negative for HIV within three years, but who had recently contracted the virus. All the patients infected with the new strain of the virus progressed to Aids within three years. None of those patients received any treatment before progressing to Aids.

Other researchers have questioned the small sample size of the study, saying it was not large enough to gain a solid understanding of people in Cuba living with HIV. As of 2013, some 15,000 people in Cuba were living with HIV, out of about 11.3 million, according to the United Nations.


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