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10 Moments That Changed HIV Care This Year

December 13, 2013


Integrase Invasion

Integrase Invasion

For the past 15 years, three HIV drug classes have dominated the treatment scene: NNRTIs (such as Sustiva), NRTIs (such as Viread) and protease inhibitors (such as Reyataz). Although drugs from other classes have been approved (fusion inhibitors, CCR5 inhibitors and the like), when it came to choosing what meds to start HIV treatment with, the answer almost always incorporated drugs from two or all three of these classes.

Then the integrase inhibitors came.

The latest update to the U.S.'s official HIV treatment guidelines was published on Oct. 30; the update solidified the place of this newer drug class as a first-line treatment option that's just as solid as the "big three." Isentress (raltegravir), Tivicay (dolutegravir) and elvitegravir (part of the recently approved all-in-one pill Stribild) are the vanguards of the integrase inhibitor class, which generally has proven to be at least as effective as the most popular drugs from other classes, but with fewer side effect risks on the whole.

To be sure, these drugs aren't perfect -- no HIV meds are -- but the treatment picture in 2013 looks better, with more great options, than it's ever looked before.

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: P. Kevin Parker (Cypress, CA) Sat., Feb. 15, 2014 at 6:53 am UTC
The article summary states that testing patients only once a year for CD4 counts will save the medical industry $41,000 per patient. That's not what the original research said, according to the full article. The researcher calculated the medical savings of only one test per year in the 550 enrolled in the study's cohort. Not per patient.
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Comment by: Reader (Chicago) Mon., Jan. 27, 2014 at 7:37 pm UTC
The most important point of the "Baby Cure Commotion" should have been stated as the fact that the treatment guidelines were ignored.

What that tells us is that far too little effort/resources have been directed at very early treatment over the last two decade.

And where is the mention of the latest news that HIV is not directly killing CD4+ T cells?

That news tells us that far too little effort/resources have been directed at the pathogenesis of HIV/AIDS. The argument that "researchers were simply looking in the wrong place" (and missed the main pathogenic mechanism) is an excuse that begs for better over-sight of HIV/AIDS research in general.

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