|So Young...Less Hope?
May 18, 2006
Hi Dr. Daar,
Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer questions. I have been reading over many of your posts along with those from the other experts here at The Body, and I understand that you believe a normal life span is very possible for those who have access to current, up-to-date treatment. I know that this is probably possible for someone who is already at a later point in their life (i.e. their 40's or 50's), but are you equally optimistic about someone who is newly infected and is in their teen's, 20's or 30's? Although I want to believe that viral suppression is something that can be indefinite utilizing modern therapy, it seems that so much of what I read about is in relation to people who are switching on and off medications due to resistance issues. Although "salvage" therapies are available, I hope that such "salvage" measures will become a fading issue as first line therapies become better and, hopefully, hopefully, indefinitely resistant. I want to believe that someone who is young and has been afflicted by this virus at such a young age is able to look forward to many more years of good health...maybe hope to look forward to their 80's or 90's. Do you think currently evolving drug classes (i.e. maturation, integrase, and CCR5 inhibitors along with breakthroughs in therapeutic vaccine research) will extend lifespans even further and make regimens even more durable and indefinite? I know that a lot of this is guesswork right now, but I'm hoping beyond hope that there is good news at the end of the tunnel. I appreciate so much your time and effort. You, along with the other members of this site, truly are humanitarians.
Response from Dr. Daar
Thank you for your kind words and post.
I am very optimistic that regardless of age, HIV-infected people who are taking care of themselves with stress reduction, exercise, a healthy diet and avoiding drugs, tobacco and excessive use of alcohol will live long healthy lives. In fact, I feel this way now based upon currently available therapies and am not even relying on the many treatments that will be available in the future. We are currently at a place in this disease where people starting therapy for the first time can take one of several regimens that are simple to take and generally well tolerated with a very high likelihood of sustained viral suppression.
You are correct that there is a great deal of discussion about "salvage" therapy on this site and others. This shouldn't be interpreted to mean that most people are in need of these types of regimens. It is just that people who start therapy for the first time and achieve undetectable viral loads have no need to seek out additional guidance. They are just doing great and living their lives. This is what I would expect will happen with you.
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