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valproic acid? cure? rumor? will it ruin my woo-hoo?!
Aug 11, 2007

Hi Dr. Bob. I hope all is still well, and thanks for that good luck karma!

Now, I've been reading a lot about HIV lately and I've found numerous articles about valproic acid and how it can help control HIV in positive patients.

Do you see a possibility for a cure there? Is this just a rumor or is it something to seriously look at?

Also, I got my ELISA results back and, as you predicted, they were negative. However, I have been taking valproic acid for about two months now (to fight chronic migraines) and I don't know if it could've affected my HIV test in a way similar to immunosuppressive drugs. Could it be that I'm in fact HIV positive but the valproic acid somehow made my results negative, or is there no link between the results and the meds?

Should I woo-hoo?

Thanks for your help!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Valproic acid is not an immunosuppressive and it does not affect HIV-antibody test results. In fact, there is some preliminary research showing that it may be helpful in fighting chronic HIV infection. (See below.)

Should you WOO-HOO? Absofrickinlutely!

Dr. Bob

Valproic acid Sep 12, 2006

Hi Dr Bob

I was wondering if you had heard anything of this research. The article seems very exciting (but don't they all). I was wondering if you could give your opinion on this line of research?

Mr Worried

Ps: a donation will swiftly be on it's way

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

The studies on valproic acid showing a decrease in latent virus pools are extremely preliminary and I feel it's premature to suggest valproic acid will have any clinical significance on overall HIV disease or disease progression. Latent virus hiding in dormant CD4 cells is only one relatively small population of HIV virus compared to the virus residing in myriad types of other cells. "Cure" would involve viral eradication from all reservoirs. Certainly the latent virus reservoir has been a particularly challenging target and perhaps valproic acid or other compounds that act on the HDAC1 (histone deactylase-1) will ultimately prove helpful in this area. If so, it would certainly be a large step forward (a "leap" really) in the quest for a cure. But it's still far too early to count on that leap. Studies are ongoing. This is one of many promising areas of research we are watching closely. One can only wonder what progress we could have made (and could be making) if resources hadn't been diverted to and squandered by Bush's bungled Iraq fiasco.

Is it 2008 yet?

Dr. Bob



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