Medical researchers in Cuba have discovered a mutated strain of HIV that is proving extremely aggressive. The new strain progresses to full blown in AIDS within three years; previous strains of the virus took six to 10 years to progress to AIDS after exposure.
The investigators are from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, led by professor Anne-Mieke Vandamme, and studied HIV patients in Havana. The researchers have found that the aggressive nature of the new Cuban strain makes it difficult to treat those patients exposed before it becomes too late. Researchers have identified more than 60 strains of HIV type 1 worldwide because of mutations.
As of 2013, some 15,000 people in Cuba were living with HIV, out of about 11.3 million, according to the United Nations.