A feature in New York magazine focuses on those still dying of HIV and AIDS in the developed west. There are three groups - the indigent who have never been tested; long term survivors who succumb to cancer or other long-term illnesses; and the patients, like my friend Bob Hattoy, who developed drug resistance from mono-therapy in the earlier days of the epidemic. Those whose immune systems were wrecked before being saved by the cocktail are particularly at risk. Still: the news remains remarkably good, given the prognostications of a decade or so ago. And research has not stalled:
There are several entirely new classes of AIDS drugs, including one by Merck, called an integrase inhibitor, that was just approved by the FDA last October. A recent report of the discovery of 270 new human proteins employed by the AIDS virus to hijack cells and start replicatingthe definition of a successful infectionmeans the pharmaceutical industry will not run out of new targets to block the infection in the near future.
My most recent bloodwork showed undetectable virus and a stronger immune system than at any time since 1993. I'm lucky; but the drug companies and NIH scientists are also life-savers.
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