DRUG COCKTAILS: Stanford Study Suggests HIV Can Evade All Available Treatments
HIV-positive patients previously treated with multi-drug cocktails can develop full resistance to all currently available treatment combinations, according to a new Stanford University study to be published in the June 1 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. "This study confirms many of our worst fears about the long-term ability to control HIV with currently available treatments," said Derek Gordon, director of communications for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. "For those of us living with HIV, and those of us fighting to end HIV/AIDS, this is a wake-up call: the epidemic is not over," he said.
Researchers were led by Dr. Robert Shafer of Stanford University Medical Center, who said the new results suggest "the AIDS epidemic has split, with patients falling into two distinct groups: the newly infected, who benefit tremendously from powerful new drug combinations, and those who started with earlier classes of HIV drugs and now have HIV strains resistant to one or more drugs." Gordon said, "Our concerns are three-fold. First, our government must reinvigorate its commitment to fully funding AIDS research as well as care and support for those living with HIV; second, prevention efforts are more important than ever, particularly if multi-drug resistant strains of HIV are developing; and third, we must continue to impress upon the pharmaceutical industry the importance of continuing aggressive research and new drug development until we have a cure" (San Francisco AIDS Foundation release, 5/29).