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Although drug-resistant HIV can slightly accelerate CD4-cell loss during the first year of infection, the difference in CD4 loss between treatment-naive patients with and without drug-resistant infections eventually becomes small, according to a research letter in the July 2 edition of the journal AIDS. A study of 124 HIV-positive adults who had a genotypic resistance test near the time of infection showed that the average CD4-cell loss in patients with drug-resistant virus was 166 cells during the first year after seroconversion, compared to 47 cells for those with HIV that was not drug-resistant. But after the first year, the CD4-cell loss rates for both groups averaged about 56 cells per year. 'Our finding of little eventual difference in CD4 levels between those with and without drug resistance suggests that any loss of [viral] fitness as a result of resistance may not effect disease progression in the absence of therapy,' researchers concluded.