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new s on hiv
Dec 19, 2003

dear dr henry, the other day in the usa today it said studies confirm that the best battle plan for hiv treatment is early regimen of three antiviral drugs. they said the combo is critical because prompt treatment with the right combo can attack hiv while it is vulnerable, and before it takes it tole on immunity. i,ve been on viracept and combivar for two years. when they say hiv may is vulnerable does this mean it has not reached the lymph nodes, where it hides and it,s hard to get? also when they say before the virus is still vulnerable and takes it,s toll on immunity, does this mean that these three drug combos can put an end to ressistance? have they found a cure when the article said that after 48 weeks the virus rebounded in only 10 percent with patients on azt,3tc,efavirenz? anthony fauci says he precribes these three to newly hiv patients. if people on meds for a while were to start with the three combos do they have a chance of the virus not coming back? could this be the cure at last? my dr told me the meds we have now could be a cure if they could get into the lymph nodes and perhaps other tissues in the body. also if this is true for only new infected people, because the virus has not had a chance to reach the hiding places like the lymph nodes? do we have a chance for the patients who have been on meds for a while?remember that in only 10 percent the virus came back in the study. thank you and one more question do all meds quit working because of ressistance? this really scares me alout. i,m still on my first regimen.thank dr henry and thanks for returning my e-mail on the meds posted dec 9th i believe. and may you and your family have a safe and happy holiday.

Response from Dr. Henry

Many of the pres releases regarding the ACTG 384 study recently published in the NEJM over-simplified matters. No cure is in on the horizon unfortunately. That study did not resolve the issue of when to start therapy. If patients are fully suppressed on a regimen they tolerate well and with no history of failing drugs then the future looks very good for very long term control and clinical benefit. KH



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