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HAART and success?
Mar 22, 2001

Thank you for your wonderful work. It has positively impacted so many lives for the better. I have 2 questions about the success rates of HAART treatment. Specifically, what percent of HIV patients respond favorably to HAART in terms of viral load and CD4 count? Second, what is the average length of time that HAART remains successful (2 years, 10 years, etc)? Thank you for your invaluable help!

Response from Dr. Little

Your question is very straightforward, yet unfortunately very difficult to answer. In a treatment inexperienced individual who is not infected with a drug resistant virus, there is not yet a defined duration of potency for available HAART regimens. What is clear, is that side effects and toxicities often limit the duration that patients can/will take these medications. But, in the rare individual for whom side effects and toxicities are not a problem, we have not yet seen when/if these regimens will loose their potentcy. That is, people have been taking these drugs successfully for more than 5 years and have not yet failed - we do not know when/if they will fail in the future, but have no reason to expect that it will be soon. In terms of what proportion of patients respond favorably to HAART, the vast majority (that is, almost all patients without prior treatment will respond with a reduction in viral load and an increase in CD4 cell count). The magnitude and durability of these responses are highly individual and depend greatly on the appearance of toxicities or side effects which may make treatment compliance more difficult.

Testing before treatment
Research shows some people protected from HIV infection

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