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3rd Millenium and beyond
Oct 2, 2002

DR Young

First thanks to yourself and all your collegues for your fine works Now that experts are predicting normal life spans (20+years)with potent drugs and good health care for +ve people, what sort of life quality should we expect during this time.Do the new treatments comming soon to approval affect this time frame or is it based on current meds. I ask this as it seems that a lot of people writing in to this site seem to be failing these meds at an alarming rate and becoming resistant. How do you come up with figures of 20 years+ when haart has only been around for about 6 years. Im sure any info on this will be keenly read by anyone living with hiv. From steve (ignorant in the uk)!

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your question from the UK.

We have had a tremendous increase in the knowledge about HIV therapies in recent years. The quality and quantity of lifes for many persons is drastically improved, and though not all will achieve this, many should (I hope) have normal- or near-normal life expectancy. A lot has to happen for this to be true-- adequate access to care and medications, informed treatment providers and of course, much hard work and adherence with a little of good luck for good measure.

New medications are being developed to address the issues of improving the side effects or complexity of therapies. Other medications are in the pipeline to specifically attempt to treat drug resistant virus.

You are correct in pointing out that HAART has only been around for 6 years. Anything about survival past this point is, by nature, speculation. The specter of drug resistance is a very important one, and primary infection with drug resistant HIV will likely dramatically diminish the certainty of this rosy prediction. (This speaks to the need to continue pressure on education about adherence and safer sex.) The speculation, is based on the study of several large, observational cohorts of persons from around the world, and are the best guess based on the availible data. -BY


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