Volume 9 Issue 129
Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 10-May-2007 
Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 11-May-2007

Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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First molecular examination of HIV in high-risk people along U.S.–Mexico border

(10 May 2007: VIDYYA MEDICAL NEWS SERVICE) -- The first report examining the subtypes of HIV infection among injecting drug abusers and female sex workers along the U.S.–Mexico border shows evidence of resistance to antiretroviral drugs in people who had not taken the medications, posing a potential public health threat.

Background: HIV prevalence is increasing among high-risk populations in U.S.–Mexico border cities, particularly among female sex workers. Due to the increasing prevalence of subtype C strains reported in Latin America and the rapidly changing nature of HIV epidemics, studies on the genetic diversity of HIV strains are needed. Research on HIV resistance mutations can also help physicians develop new therapeutic guidelines.

Study Design: In this community-based study, researchers collected 35 HIV-positive samples from injecting drug abusers and female sex workers in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez. They were able to analyze the DNA from 11 samples (8 from injecting drug abusers, and 3 from female sex workers).

What They Found: The samples obtained were HIV subtype B, the most prevalent strain in North America, Western Europe, and Australia. They also observed that two of the three samples from female sex workers had low-level antiretroviral resistance mutations, even though they had not taken antiretroviral medications.

Comments From The Authors: Although the sample size was small, the antiretroviral drug resistance found in two drug-naïve female sex workers is of concern; the potential for primary drug resistance poses a potential public health threat to both sides of the border.

What’s Next: Further studies in Mexican high-risk groups are needed to determine the rate of primary drug resistance in individuals along the border and throughout Mexico. Testing for HIV drug resistance will aid clinicians in selecting appropriate treatment for patients in whom antiretroviral therapy is not successful.

Publication: The study, led by Dr. Jean Carr of the University of Maryland, was published in the February 2007 issue of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.

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