June #82 : An STI FYI - by Mike Barr

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Table of Contents

Kiss & Gel

Odd Boy Out

Pain Killer Pain

Gravest Show on Earth

Enemy at the Gate

How to Parent

On the High Wire

Party Politics

PACHA Gotcha

Waste Product

Three Wise Men

Poppy Culture

State of Race

Jail Tail

Ohio File

Oh! Calcutta!

School for Scandal

B Sting

Stat Splat

Beg To Differ

Oh, God!

Laughing Matters

Cable Ace

Bullox over Broadway

A Pair of Genes

Gene Machine


Fly by Night

All the News That's Fit to Zip...

Classical Lit

The Pill Chill

Mixed Signals

Tat's Two

Gender Bender


Who's Who

Big Sis

Clean Screen



Asimov As He Was


Tricks of the Trade

Cunning Linguist

Editor's Letter


Bloodless, Still Gutsy

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

email print

June 2002


by Mike Barr

Pharma's PR machine scored a coup in its slant on the news out of EuroSIDA, the 5,000-strong pan-European observational cohort of HIVers "Drug Stoppers Six Times As Likely to Develop AIDS or Die," trumpeted the Los Angeles Times about the data's debut in March. The Washington Post ("Studies Find Danger in Waiting, Interrupting") fanned the flames: "Even if they [later] restarted treatment," David Brown wrote, "they continued to have nearly twice the risk of death." But readers able to muster the fortitude to read on discovered that this frightening statistic is true only for those few HAART starters with CD4s less than 200.

London doc Ian Williams' take was that the risk of HIV progression in those with 250 or more CD4s who interrupted therapy for three months or more is "practically zero." But for interrupters with CD4s below 50, those "drug failures" who stayed on therapy fared much better than those who went off. "There must be [as yet unidentified] mechanisms [causing] this effect, which confer the clinical benefit," Williams said.

Break it down? Even though the drugs are not "working" -- that is, suppressing virus and elevating CD4s -- they are still forcing mutations on the virus, weakening it and making it less lethal than it would be in its natural HAART-less state.

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