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New HIV Treatment Guidelines Give More Advice

By John S. James

July 25, 2003

New HIV treatment guidelines for adults and adolescents, developed by a panel of experts convened by the U.S. Department of Human Services, were published July 14, 2003. This standard differs from previous editions in giving more direction to physicians, especially in choosing specific drugs. You can download this and other guidelines documents at -- click Guidelines, then Adult and Adolescent Guidelines.

Advice on when to start antiretrovirals has not changed. But instead of the previous system (pick one drug from column A and two from column B), the new guidelines recommend choosing one of basically two preferred regimens, with alternates available if needed. There is also more guidance for doctors on how to deal with drug failure and choosing a new regimen.

Much of the useful information is contained in the 29 tables at the end of the 96-page document.


Guidelines are never the final word in a complicated, fast-changing, and controversial area of medicine. It is still critically important to have the advice of a physician with extensive experience in treating HIV.

ISSN # 1052-4207

Copyright 2003 by John S. James. Permission granted for noncommercial reproduction, provided that our address and phone number are included if more than short quotations are used.

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