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Jun 2, 2003

Dr., What are the results of the research (or your personal experience) regarding structured treatment interuptions, in terms of their length and staying power, and what type of progress is being made in this area? Thank you for your time.

Response from Dr. Boyle

Structured treatment interruptions in chronically HIV-infected patients are generally not thought to be an effective method for fostering autoimmunity to HIV or otherwise improving the control of HIV. So, most clinicians are not doing these, although some research continues in the area. Interrupting therapy, to give the patient a break from the medications, may be allowed, but the studies indicate that patients who have ever had a CD4 count <200 should be very careful since CD4 cells can be quickly lost and that loss may place them at risk for AIDS-defining events. Some patients who had high CD4 counts at baseline and on HAART can stay off meds for some time, and for the most part this is the patient population where treatment interruptions are being done.

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