Letter From the Editor
The HIV treatment climate has changed yet again. On an international level, the discussion has become a highly charged debate about socioeconomics and politics as much as science and medicine. Experts have proposed a host of "solutions," many of which, if implemented, would entail revolutionary changes of public policy or social beliefs. In contrast, in North America and Europe, the regions that arguably have led the world in HIV treatment innovations, a sort of treatment malaise is deepening.
The optimism over powerful antiretroviral "cocktails" has long been compromised by emerging adverse effects, and, more recently, reports about rising HIV incidence rates and drug resistance. Some treatment advocates as well as people with HIV are frustrated by too few answers to rapidly aging questions, including how to best use already approved antiretroviral drugs. What does this suggest for the year ahead? In the absence of new scientific discoveries or insights, this may be a good time for people with HIV to focus on more personal questions: Is my treatment plan working for me? How do I interact with my provider? What can I do to increase my support systems?
In HIV medicine, individualized care continues to be of fundamental importance. Making well-informed personal choices involves ongoing education (thoughtful research of diverse opinions and sources) and regular self-care (visits to health-care providers, monitoring, paying close and careful attention to oneself), and working collaboratively with health-care providers. The familiar guidance about lifestyle is also relevant: to exercise and rest enough; to eat a nutritious diet; to manage stress; to create a healthy home and work environment; to strengthen social connections and support networks.
Whatever happens in the research arena over the course of 2002, BETA will continue to report on experimental treatments, strategies, and developments. We also will feature articles about living with HIV, such as coping with body fat changes, or nausea and gastrointestinal distress, and more -- all in order to provide our readers with as much information as possible for making important treatment decisions.
Investing time and energy now in becoming as healthy and well informed as possible should afford the secondary benefit of being as well-positioned as possible to take advantage of new treatment options as soon as they appear.
This article was provided by San Francisco AIDS Foundation. It is a part of the publication Bulletin of Experimental Treatments for AIDS. Visit San Francisco AIDS Foundation's Web site to find out more about their activities, publications and services.