Researchers at Lund University’s Clinical Virology, based in Sweden, say they have identified a new species of HIV. It is much more virulent and aggressive than previous strains of HIV and can lead to full-blown AIDs in just five years, earlier than any other strain.
According to the researchers there are about 60 strains of “epidemic” HIV in the world.
The researchers stated the new species of HIV called A3/02 originated in West Africa and to this point has not spread out.
Referred to as a “recombinant” strain, they believe A3/02 formed when two strains of HIV — 02AG and A3 — infected one person at the same time and then joined.
The group expressed concerns other “recombinant” versions of the HIV virus are forming as well. They state:
“Recombinants seem to be more vigorous and more aggressive than the strains from which they developed.”
Their findings were published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
This news comes on the heels of a UK survey indicating a significant drop in condom use among gay men in that country.
In early 2013, a study — released by Andrew Philips of University College in London — states the number of HIV cases among gay men in the UK increased by 76% between 1990 and 2010. It corresponded with a 26% decreased condom usage attributed largely to new drugs introduced to combat the disease.
A Christian response
Bishop TD Jakes pastors Potter’s House, a 30,000-member, mega church, based in Dallas, Texas. On Sunday, December 1, 2013, International AIDS Day, Potter’s House offered free HIV testing for anyone interested. According to reports, the church tested about 500 people.
Balm Ministry is an outreach set up by Potter’s House to minister to people with AIDS. The ministry encourages people to receive testing and ministers physically and spiritually to those who contracted the disease.
Dallas County has one of the highest new HIV infection rates in Texas.
- Aggressive new HIV strain leads to AIDS more quickly: Medical News Today
- TD Jakes’ Potter’s House offers free HIV testing: Christian Post
- Number of gay men catching HIV has doubled in 20 years because new drugs have ‘encouraged unsafe sex’: Dailymail