A team at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, in Antwerp, Belgium, has carried out a comparison of HIV-I samples from 1986-89 and 2002-03 (12 samples from each time period). They found the newer samples appeared not to multiply as well, and were more sensitive to drugs. These results are in contrast to other studies which have found the virus is becoming more resistant.
The researchers, writing in the journal AIDS, stressed that their work in no way meant efforts to prevent the spread of HIV should be scaled down.
Researcher Dr Eric Artz said: 'This was a very preliminary study, but we did find a striking observation in that the viruses from the 2000s are much weaker than the viruses from the 1980s.
'Obviously this virus is still causing death, although it may be causing death at a slower rate of progression now. Maybe in another 50 to 60 years we might see this virus not...