Drug Resistant HIV On The Rise

3D bacteria redThe World Health Organization (WHO) warns that resistance to the drugs used to treat HIV is on the rise.

According to the 2017 WHO HIV Drug Resistance report, 6 out of 11 countries surveyed reported that more than 10 percent of people who are “starting antiretroviral therapy had a strain of HIV that was resistant to some of the most widely used HIV medicines.”

“Antimicrobial drug resistance is a growing challenge to global health and sustainable development,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “We need to proactively address the rising levels of resistance to HIV drugs if we are to achieve the global target of ending AIDS by 2030.”

More than half a dozen countries are above the 10 percent threshold. These include Argentina, Guatemala, Namibia, Nicaragua, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Researchers warn that the growing threat could undermine global progress in treating and preventing HIV infection if action is not taken immediately.

In 2014, there were an estimated 37,600 new HIV infections, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During that time, an estimated 1.1 million people in the United States were living with the fatal disease. One in 7 (about 15 percent) did not know their status. As of June 2016, about 36.7 million people were living with HIV globally, with 19.5 million receiving medicines to treat the illness, called antiretroviral therapy (ART).