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10 and 20 years from now
Nov 13, 2003

Hello Doc. Hope all is well!!! I found out I was pos. a year ago. Just started on meds 2 days ago. Not sure how long I have been pos..maybe 3 to 4 years..hard to say. I see many questions from people that are pos 15 to 20 years now and many seem to be burned out on meds, severe facial wasting, etc etc. Do you feel its going to be much better for us in 10 to 15 to 20 years. I know we have come a long long way in the last 10 to 15 years....are we going to be able to say that in another 10 to 15. Thanks so much

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

I do wish I had a crystal ball, which I could gaze into, and see the future for at least 2 reasons:

1.To give an accurate answer to your question.

2.To watch Bush being bounced out of the White House.

But since I don't have that, I'll just give my opinion briefly. A decade ago, there were only 3 FDA-approved drugs to treat HIV/AIDS. Today, there are over 20, along with much more sophisticated tools for monitoring the health of those of us cohabitating with the virus. So what does the future hold for us? Perhaps for some of us, the current therapies may actually be enough to lead a full life span. It is at least theoretically possible. However, as you mention, for most of us, the currently available therapies fail over time, or can't be tolerated, due to toxicities and/or side effects. There is no reason to believe the future holds anything other than continue progress. However, I'm a bit concerned that the word "cure" seems to be missing from the current discussions of many scientists, researchers, community leaders, and even activists. And, of course, we cannot forget the grim statistics, which show the raging AIDS pandemic outpacing all efforts to control it. In another 10-15 years, perhaps we'll have a therapeutic and/or preventive vaccine, or at least new less toxic therapies, and we'll look back on today's wonder drugs as woefully inadequate. However, I think historians will look back on our time and see a civilization that spent billions of dollars on war, but failed to treat 95% of the people with HIV/AIDS worldwide. I'm sure our readers know the statistics and predictions:

1.There are 42,000,000 people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS; only 1,000,000 are presently being treated.

2.There are 14,000 new infections per day.

3.Every 10 seconds, someone in the world dies of AIDS.

4.By 2010, there will be 20 million AIDS orphans worldwide and more than 100 million people infected by the virus.

So to answer your question, "Do I feel things are going to be much better for us in 10-20 years?" Yes, all indications are that slow, but incremental, progress is being made. My sincere hope is that there is improvement, not only for the 1 million of us currently being treated, but also for the 41 million whom presently are not! In addition, we must all strive for preventive and therapeutic vaccines, and ultimately, a cure. That is the future I long to see.

Dr. Bob


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