BANGKOK, Thailand (AP)-Two distinctly different forms of the AIDS virus are ravaging
Thailand-one passed primarily by needles and the other by sexual contact, researchers
Scientists said they are at a loss to explain how two parallel AIDS epidemics could
occur in one country.
They suggested that one form of the virus may have evolved to spread readily through
drug infections, such as occurs when drug addicts share needles, while another might
more easily be passed during sexual intercourse.
Dr. Chin Yih Ou of the U. S. Centers for Disease Control, who directed the study,
said the "surprising" results may provide new clues for tracing the virus'
global spread, designing better drugs and creating effective vaccines.
The type spread sexually seems to have originated in Africa, while the variety among
drug-abusers seems to have come from the United States.
The study was initiated to hunt for clues about the staggering spread of AIDS in
Thailand, which has infected some 300,000 people. Currently more than a third of
the intravenous drug users in Thailand are infected.