By Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
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Additional info for Diseases and Disorders - AIDS (Diseases and Disorders)
Occur. One clinical trial, for example, showed that when nevirapine was combined with AZT and ddI, the treatment was significantly better at reducing HIV levels and increasing helper T cell counts than treatments using AZT and ddI only. Cocktail Hour The realization that a single drug cannot control HIV as well as a multidrug approach can has proven to be a major breakthrough in AIDS research. When doctors attack HIV simultaneously with combinations of NRTIs, NNRTIs, and protease inhibitors, the virus is unable to mutate fast enough to develop resistance to all the drugs at once.
We now know that these reservoirs are established very early in the course of infection,” 18 says Fauci. Although there are far fewer viral particles detected by blood tests during clinical latency than in the acute stage, HIV is still transmissible. In fact, each year of the dormant phase of HIV infection, which can last on average between two and fifteen years, more and more virus emerges from the concealed reservoirs. The numbers of HIV particles produced each day are astronomical. “We’ve learned that 10 billion to 1 trillion HIV viruses are produced in one day in the human body,” 19 says Dr.
For one thing, the toxic side effects of these drugs on healthy cells are undeniable. To a certain extent, the drug interferes with the normal cellular processes in healthy tissue as well, which leads to tissue damage. For example, even in the earliest trials, patients suffered significant reductions in their red and white blood cell counts from damage to bone marrow. In fact, so severe are side effects like nausea, anemia, diarrhea, liver damage, nerve damage, and bone marrow damage that many patients—between 40 percent and 80 percent of AZT users—are forced to discontinue treatment.