In nearly every conversation I’ve had with Affecteds who are experimenting with ways to reduce the toxicity of antiretroviral (ARV) regimens, questions about “AIDS drug resistance” comes up. Resistance is often raised as a boogeyman in research trials of monotherapy and intermittent treatment options. While drug resistance—especially bacterial antibiotic resistance to staphylococcus or tuberculosis, for example—is increasingly a problem in modern medicine, one is unlikely to hear drug resistance discussed quite the way it is with AIDS. No other pathogen is described as “sneaky”, “clever”, or more mutable than HIV, despite the fact that retroviruses do not even meet most definitions for being a living entity, let alone have a brain.
Stop the nukes! No, not nuclear weapons. Well, yes, those too, but today I’m writing about the increase in reports I’m seeing from the AIDS drug medical literature calling for an end to the use of nucleoside(tide) reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), not-so-ironically referred to as “nukes”. As I have written previously, there have been rumblings from clinicians and researchers in the medical literature since at least 2010 to get rid of the NRTI class of antiretroviral drugs entirely from treatment guidelines.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that this change will occur at anything comparable to the speed with which AZT and other poison pills were “fast-tracked” to market more than 25 years ago.
As I spend time this week with one of my dearest friends, a man who has been HIV-positive since at least 1987, and who has been on ARVs almost continuously since 1990, I am reminded that Affecteds have always had the option to consider alternatives to conventional pharmaceutical treatment. Last night we recalled some of […more]