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How can you sound so confident?
Jun 23, 2007

Hi Docs,

I wonder how all of you can feel so confident about telling your patients that they should count on living long, healthy lives...effective HAART has only been around for about 10 years...and while it seems to be working well so far, it seems a bit premature to draw long term conclusions or expectations from 10 years of therapy. Even if HIV+ folks can live long lives, isn't the quality of life of positive people most likely to suffer greatly as time goes on as a result of medication side effects or HIV infection itself? I know all of you want to give hope to your patients...but should that hope come at the expense of uncertain outcomes? I apologize if I come off like a doubting Thomas...I guess I've been burned one too many times and feel skeptical about many things. I still have the greatest respect for all of you.

Response from Dr. Young

Dear Doubting,

Points taken. We have been burned in the past with over interpretation of early data and recommendations. This indeed is why I stick to the best scientific (rather than faith-based, or non-scientific) evidence when making what are potentially life-saving decisions for my patients.

Most of what you refer to are indeed forecasts, but nonetheless based on a decade of experience that has borne witness to gigantic changes in the quality and quantity of life of hundreds real people that I personally have cared for.

My certainty in this is pretty damn good, but it is qualified that I can't predict the future with 100.00% certainty anymore than I can predict exactly the snow will fall again in Denver.

Thanks for your comments. BY



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