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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

SOUTH AFRICA: Recreational Use of HIV Drugs Leading to Pre-Treatment Resistance in South Africa


Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report (12.19.12) Aids Weekly Plus

According to the NPR “Shots” blog, two primary HIV drugs are now being used in South Africa as recreational drugs. According to the blog, individuals with HIV who smoke what is called “whoonga,” a mixture of an AIDS medication and a street drug like marijuana or heroin, may develop a mutant strain of the virus that is resistant to the medication. Another possibility is that individuals may become infected with a strain of HIV that came from someone who used “whoonga.” The blog noted that according to Harvard School of Public Health researcher Dr. David Grelotti, a large study demonstrated that 3 to 5 percent of individuals with HIV were “coming in with pre-treatment resistance to antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV.”


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Information in this article was accurate in December 20, 2012. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.