An extremely aggressive new strain of HIV has been discovered spreading in Jamaica’s closest neighbour according to scientists.
This new strain, named CRF19, is able to transform into full-blown aids within three years following an infection.
This is alarming because the average conversion time to full blown AIDS is around 10 years.
According to Mail Online, scientists were prompted to investigate after noting a growing number of reports of people in Cuba suffering a rapid progression to AIDS, within three years of infection.
HIV tests often do not detect the virus within the first few weeks of infection, sometimes months.
Once a person develops the flu-like symptoms that characterise acute infection – usually coming two to four weeks after infection – the virus undergoes a latency period.
During that time the virus replicates and lives inside the body, but does not cause any symptoms.
That period can last between five and 10 years before AIDS develops, in most cases.
But researchers at the University of Leuven in Belgium noted the CRF19 strain causes patients to make the transition to AIDS much faster.
It can be so quick that a person may not even realise they are infected.
This strain was first noticed in Africa, but it only appears to be spreading in Cuba, where records so far show 144 infected.
Are you concerned that this could pose a major health threat to Jamaica based on its proximity? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Source: Mail Online