Treatment interruption: most patients could not maintain immune control.
Treatment interruption in order to establish immune control should not be confused with other kinds of treatment interruptions, such as the five-days-on-two-days-off reported elsewhere in this issue. That more modest interruption seeks to reduce antiretroviral use in carefully selected patients in order to reduce expense and improve quality of life, not to help the immune system gain permanent control of HIV. Treatment is discontinued for only two days then automatically restarted before the virus has a chance to come back--not discontinued for years at a time if viral load stays low.
Our impression is that the early HIV treatment and interruption to help build immune control of the virus probably is helping, but not enough for most patients. Some of the newer research into HIV immunity and pathogenesis may ultimately provide the additional help necessary. We need more research on why some primate species (and a few people) do not get infected with HIV, or do get infected but then do not get sick, and whether some of the mechanisms involved could be produced artificially by drug treatment.
It will be necessary to build public-interest advocacy to make sure that needed research happens, since the companies already selling antiretrovirals may not have an incentive to greatly reduce their use.
[1.] PLOS Medicine. December 2004; volume 1, issue 3: number e70. Open access (no subscription needed) at http://medicine.plosjournals.org/. A search for "interruption HIV" (without the quotes) will find this and related articles in PLOS Medicine.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Author:||James, John S.|
|Publication:||AIDS Treatment News|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2004|
|Previous Article:||Warning: do not combine Reyataz and Prilosec.|
|Next Article:||India changes patent law to meet WTO treaty, making new medicines less available to most citizens, other countries.|