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A Friend in Desperate Need
Jul 31, 2000

Dear Doc,

I have a friend who recently told me that his doctor said there are no more Medications for him to take for HIV. He said he is resistant to them all.. He has been Positive for 13 years now. His CD4 is around 300 and his viral load is over a 100,000. He's presently very discouraged and in a sickly state due to not being on meds to control the HIV. Are there any new Meds out there for him to take? I cant imagine that there are no meds available for him to take. Do you have any suggestions? I did remember reading something about two older drugs they used for cancer years ago that worked on hiv also... Please let me know.. Signed Extremely Grateful..

Response from Dr. Cohen

Extremely Grateful:

It is difficult to completely answer your question without knowing your friend's treatment history. However, there are new drugs currently being studied in clinical trials that are available through compassionate use programs. These are programs that make experimental drugs available to patients who have experienced virologic failure while receiving approved medications. It may be that the physician has tried these medications; he/she should be able to give you this information. In addition, it is sometimes possible to use the results of resistance testing to put together a new regimen that may decrease viral load, not to undetectable levels, but to lower levels that may result in clinical benefit. This means that your friend may feel better for a longer period of time, his CD4 cells will remain 300 for a longer period of time or he may be less likely to develop an opportunistic infection.

He should ask his physician to discuss these possibilities with him. Hope that this is helpful.



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