New Adult HIV Treatment Guidelines May Help ‘Tame’ HIV
A few years ago, selecting the "best treatment" for HIV-positive individuals "seemed easy," but "[n]ot anymore," BusinessWeek's John Carey writes in a commentary in the magazine's Feb. 5 issue. The official 1998 HIV treatment guidelines from the HHS-affiliated Panel on Clinical Practices for Treatment of HIV Infection advised doctors to treat patients with "powerful cocktails" of antiretroviral drugs when their CD4+ T cell counts fell to a still "relatively high" 500 cells per cubic millimeter -- "long before" the symptoms of AIDS were likely to appear. "Many thought they knew the answer: Hit early, hit hard," Dr. Fred Gordin, head of infectious diseases at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said. However, while the new drugs have "slash[ed]" the AIDS death rate in America, the panel will announce updated guidelines at the 8th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections next week that recommend "hitting later rather than sooner." According to the panel, AIDS drugs have "serious limitations" -- including "far worse than originally thought" side effects such as heart disease and cancer -- and offer "no hope of eradicating the virus." Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of theThis is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.