After years of doctors’ narrowly focusing on drugs as the be-all of HIV treatment, one aspect of AIDS is inspiring a more integrated approach: wasting. As we explore in this month’s feature on the syndrome, there’s growing recognition that the most effective program for both prevention and treatment of this still-all-too-prevalent killer often combines diet, vitamins and minerals, hormone replacement, exercise and—when needed—pharmaceuticals. Wasting—or at least its appetite-suppression aspect—is also the one HIV-related affliction to finally force a modicum of acceptance for an herbal remedy: marijuana. Of course, many doctors remain behind the curve on these strategies, still needing a heavy dose of education by their patients. But perhaps these first stirrings of integration in medicine are a good omen for the future of AIDS care as a whole.
April 1, 1999 • By Bob Lederer