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BOSTON (Reuters) - The miracle drugs that transformed AIDS from an automatic death sentence into a disease people could live with are losing their effectiveness, researchers said Wednesday.
The virus that causes AIDS, which has killed more than 20 million people around the world and infected 40 million more, is rapidly developing a resistance to antiretroviral drugs designed to prolong the lives of sufferers in countries that can afford them.
The finding, published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine, is based in part on tests on the AIDS virus, HIV, at medical centers in 10 North American cities.
Investigators discovered that while only 3.4 percent of the 264 new cases they tested were resistant to 15 anti-HIV drugs from 1995 to 1998, the rate jumped to 12.2 percent of the 113 new infections in the years 1999 and 2000.