May #91 : Doctor Shocker! - by Anita Flanagan

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May 2003

Doctor Shocker!

by Anita Flanagan

Is your doctor as clueless about HIV drug resistance as most appear to be? The January 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases (CID) reported that only one-quarter of health pros know enough about HIV’s mass of mutations to read a resistance test.

While no one is screaming malpractice, genotypic exams can offer need-to-know info about not only what’s causing your treatment to fail but also which drugs not to switch to. The test reads all the mutations your HIV’s genes have developed and identifies the corresponding drugs. Matches indicate partial or total resistance to a med.

 

But CID reported that only 17 of the 100 MDs surveyed correctly ID’d more than one resistance mutation (out of the 16 most common) for each of the six drug regimens studied—and one-third outright flunked by failing to make any correct matches. “We were surprised at the number of providers who lacked knowledge of the most basic mutations,” said Carlos Salama, MD, author of the report. These docs should “locate an expert in genotypic interpretation and receive guidance interpreting results,” he sniffed. Ouch! Or click on www.hivresistanceweb.com.




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