HIV strain found in Cuba could be the most aggressive ever studied in humansCuba is facing a widespread and deadly epidemic of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that can progress into AIDS some three times faster than the most common strains of the virus. Now researchers have identified what makes this HIV different and deadlier than most. You may not know this, but there are actually two common strains of the virus that causes AIDS, HIV-1 and HIV-2, each with their own smaller sub-types often varied by region. As of last November, these strains individually claimed more than 39 million lives globally, while millions more people live on with the virus in their bodies, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). HIV alone only reduces the effectiveness of a victim’s immune system, working to turn a body’s defenses into factories that actually propagate the illness. Things get really bad when the virus leads to the most advanced stage, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The WHO reports that it can take two to 15 years for an HIV patient to hit this stage, but once there, the victim can develop certain aggressive cancers, infections, and other severe illnesses with few means to fight back. And that’s the problem with the ongoing HIV problem in Cuba, which is speeding up the advancement to that final stage by threefold, according to initial assessments. MORE