Hooked on Rocks!
BOSTON - The New York man who sparked fears of a powerful new strain of HIV had drug-fueled, unprotected sex with more than 100 men in the months before his diagnosis, a top researcher said yesterday. Dr. David Ho of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in Manhattan will unveil today a case study of the unidentified man, who his team believes may harbor a mutant strain of the deadly virus.
Skeptical AIDS researchers from around the world believe the case is isolated and not the beginning of a new epidemic.
In a preview of the study, Ho said the new strain is resistant to 19 of 20 drugs used to fight the HIV virus and becomes full-blown AIDS in months, not years. The development led city health officials to send out a dire warning earlier this month.
"We don't know if this is an isolated case or if there are more cases out there," Ho told the Daily News.
The victim, who's in his mid-40s, participated in wild orgies fueled by crystal meth before becoming sick, Ho said.
City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said yesterday health workers have been "working to identify [the man's] sexual partners, and urge them to be tested."
But he declined to say how many of those partners they'd been able to reach.
Despite the fears of a superbug, other experts have pointed out that rapid progression of HIV is not new, nor is resistance to multiple drugs.
Instead of being a new strain, the virus could have rapidly developed into full-blown AIDS because of something unique to the patient, said Dr. Douglas Richman of University of California at San Diego.
But even officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have acknowledged the case is alarming.
Originally published on February 25, 2005