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Post this to a follow up I believe readers will agree.

Feb 1, 2005

Benjamin you responded that you disagree totally with my veiws on meds used for treating hiv. Could you tell me what part. The meds work but at what cost to the patient. Im not only talking short term but long term as well. You like most docs. see medicine from narrow lenses. It is not your fault by the way just the way it is. We can say the meds work because we measure them through protocol that bases success on suppression. But what we are not measureing is the damage the meds do to ones heart, stomach, pancreas, immune system etc.We must demand better treatment options than the ones most have accepted. Dr. Bob always says we get what we ask for when it comes to medicine. Well ben im on your side the only area we differ is you think the treatment is good but you do not have to digest pills that cause sideeffects to long to mention. I write this because someone has to start taking a stand for those that have to deal with these terrible meds. I have friends that refuse to take the meds because the side effects are to much.I believe that if pressure where put on the pharm and med industries by the doctors that treat then better products could be developed. If those with hiv accept the current meds and continue to pay for them why change the dollars are coming in anyway. Tell me ben if a long term non progressor started on meds when diagnosed they would never know they where a non progessor. Good point right? It is like a person who fears hiv if someone breated on them and then takes pep. We must really analyze what is happening here and come up with different and better protocols for treating our patients. I am not attacking anyone here I am just thinking that if we do not broaden our lenses we will not treat our patient with the best care available.

Response from Dr. Young

Thank you for your response and thoughts; I'm glad that you think that you're on my side.

Let me clarify-- I think that your stereotype of physicians is perjorative and negates the dedicated work that many have provided to the HIV community for years. You can dismiss my efforts if you like, but speaking in defense of my many colleagues who happen to have medical degrees-- these are individuals who care deeply about the community- the whole person, their families, their fears and their successes. To impune that money is all that motivates them (and me) is entirely offensive.

Now that said, I do agree that there is more to success than just a CD4 count or a viral load, but these are important measures that are frequently required to see improvement. Long-term complications are a major focus for doctors and the pharmaceutical industry alike-- this is not to assert that the job is done, nor to say that every person with HIV has a symptom-free life, or symptom-free medications.

Toxicity of medications is followed closely-- indeed, including toxicity to the heart, liver, pancreas and stomach; it's mandated by the FDA, the pharmaceutical industry and medical professionals, not just patient advocates.

I'm happy, however that you do agree with me that there is continued need to pressure for better medications, better and fair pricing and continued incentive for government, industry and community alike for a better prognosis for all.

Thanks for reading. BY

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