The year yielded few HIV headlines (besides “supervirus” hysteria). Buta handful of developments—some with little media fanfare—are paving theway to positive well-being in 2006 and beyond.

RELIEF FORRESISTANCE The year’s big story has been entry inhibitor (EI)development. By hitting HIV at a unique spot in its reproductive cycle,EIs may open a brand-new door for containing HIV—and treating peoplewith resistant virus. Alas, in September, GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) EI,aplaviroc, hit a wall, with some liver toxicity halting trials in thosenew to meds. But aplaviroc tests in “treatment-experienced” peoplecontinue, and four other EIs are moving through the pipeline. Andunlike the first approved EI (injectible Fuzeon), these are pills.

EVENMORE OPTIONS Two new protease inhibitors (PIs) arrived in ’05 to offeradditional hope for people dealing with resistance: Aptivus(tipranavir), debuted in June, and TMC-114 is in expanded access, withapproval anticipated in ’06. “Aptivus is not for those new to therapy,”says treatment activist Tim Horn. “It’s for HIV that’s resistant to theolder PIs on the market.” TMC-114 is being tested among thetreatment-experienced and -inexperienced alike. Both PIs must be takenwith at least one other drug to which your HIV isn’t resistant.

ANEW CLASS OF DRUG Maturation inhibitors disable HIV at yet anotherpoint in its reproductive cycle—when newly formed HIV matures enough toinfect other cells. PA-457 is the first. The pill (likely a once-a-day)has only graduated from early trials. But it suppressed HIV well enoughto create a minor stir at conferences this year, and Panacos, the med’smaker, hopes PA-457 will do well enough in studies planned for ’06 and’07 to get FDA approval in ’08.

A VACCINE FOR HPV 2005 sawprogress on vaccines for human papillomavirus (HPV), an STD thatplagues and endangers those with HIV. Some strains of HPV cause genitalwarts; others cause serious lesions in the cervix and anus that canlead to cancer. Cervical cancer—an AIDS-defining illness—progressesfaster in positive women than negative ones. In a study (of 25,000-pluswomen in 33 countries) announced in October, Merck’s vax forcancer-causing HPV, Gardasil, blocked 100% of cancerous andprecancerous cervical lesions in those who got all the vax doses. Evenwomen who got HPV before getting all the doses had a lower risk ofgetting the lesions. GSK is testing an HPV vax, too. However, neitherhas been tested in positive women. If the vax does work in women withHIV, it could cut cancer risk, although prospects are iffier for thosewith CD4 cells below 200.

FULLER FACES Only one filler(Sculptra) is approved in the U.S. for HIV’s facial wasting. ButBio-Alcamid (polyalkylamide gel), for which HIVers have trekked toTijuana, can now be had via “special access” in Canada ( It’s another potential step—although across aborder—to better quality of life for those with HIV.