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China's breakthrough on HIV drug resistance?
Feb 2, 2008

I was just diagnoised as poz last week and started searching the internet for a "cure" in both English and Chinese. I noticed a Chinese news dated 12/27/07 of a university student won national award on his research of how to conquer HIV drugs resistance and side effects. Have any of you heard about it and whether you think it's only fiction? It's a very big award held annually among all universities, so I think it must be good but not sure how good the Chinese judges are. The title of his thesis: HIV-1 mNHRHPPs/mNHRnHPPs mNHRHPPs (sorry I don't know how to translate other words). Let me know if you are interested if so I will translate the whole article.

Response from Dr. Sherer

Thank you for the offer, but I will await the peer review of the scientific community. I am skeptical that both subjects - resistance AND side effects - have been, or ever could be, 'conquered' in a single paper.

I am always impressed by the optimism of people living with HIV like yourself who believe that their own internet search might lead them to find a cure or other solutions that have yet to be discovered or recognized by the huge, vigorous, and highly competitive global HIV scientific community. Be very careful here! You are not the first person to have HIV, and many others have gone before you.

First, I urge you to pursue your own solutions, both through the internet and any other useful sources of information such as community networks, advocacy groups, and individuals, but I urge you to do so in collaboration with your physician. And I urge you to start first with your physician, so that you don't waste your time and pursue tangents unnecesarily.

There is already a well-established way to prevent HIV drug resistance and achieve prolonged control of the virus, CD4 cell increases, and durable good health. This is simply through working with your doctor to find the best ART regimen that will allow you to achieve high level adherence to the regimen without missing any doses, so that the virus is never allowed to escape and lead to drug resistance. We have the means to achieve this for the majority of patients taking ART.

In addition, though side effects remain an important issue, there have been useful advances in limiting side effects with the current generation of ART, and you and your doctor should be able to find a regimen that you can tolerate without unacceptable side effects, in the event that you become a candidate for treatment.

In sum, I urge you to give all of your attention in these early days to the collaboration between you and your doctor and the need to understand everything about HIV transmission, clinical illness, and the use of antiretroviral therapy. This is where your best hope lies at present. When you and your doctor have mastered this material and you have a well-conceived plan for treatment (now or at some time in future), then you may pursue other tangents for which there are too few answers, and for which an internet search may reward you - for example, for immune-based therapies.

I urge you to take your question and this response to your next visit with your doctor.


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