Dissident AIDS Database

HIV drugsAZT/PIsSide effectsHit early doctrine
 Smith Matt
  Next month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will release a revised set of HIV treatment guidelines that represents the culmination of a four-year-long retreat from Dr. Ho's initial ideas about AIDS [hit-it-early, hit-it-hard doctrine]. The new guidelines are a significant shift of popular medical wisdom about the proper use of AIDS drugs. They will recommend holding back from using powerful anti-viral drugs until the immune systems of HIV patients show significant signs of decline. According to the new guidelines, patients should not get "triple therapy" ... until the number of T-helper immune cells falls to fewer than 350 per milliliter of blood (instead of 500). In essence, the guidelines acknowledge that the precipitous use of protease-inhibitor-laced anti-viral cocktails may actually do more harm than good. "It's an accumulation of all the side effects we've seen," says Volberding, who's on the government committee that wrote the new federal guidelines. "There were neuropathologies, some suppression of red blood cells that would cause anemia. There were some drugs that caused kidney stones or skin rashes... we recognize we don't need to use the medicines as early as we thought."... Some AIDS treatment experts are now acknowledging that a part of the focus on early treatment may have been driven more by hype than solid science, and that the early use of drugs with powerful side effects caused years of suffering that could, and should, have been avoided
  SF Weekly 3 Jan. '012001
US Panel seeks Changes in Treatment of AIDS Virus;
 Altman L
  In view of this the US government has appointed a panel of AIDS scientists to review the toxic effects of antiviral medications and issued recommendations to restrict prescriptions of anti-HIV drugs that were published by the New York Times : “Altering a long-held policy, federal health officials are now recommending that treatment for the AIDS virus be delayed as long as possible for people without symptoms because of increased concerns over toxic effects of the therapies. . . . More recently, concern has grown over nerve damage, weakened bones, unusual accumulations of fat in the neck and abdomen, diabetes and a number of other serious side effects of therapy. Many people have developed dangerously high levels of cholesterol and other lipids in the blood, raising concern that H.I.V.-infected people might face another epidemic–of heart disease. . . .
  New York Times, 2001, New York, February 4, p. 162001
Caution: should we be treating HIV infection early?
 Levy J A
  “No cancer patient takes three or four chemotherapeutic drugs for a lifetime. What is overlooked . . . is that these drugs can be toxic and can be directly detrimental to a natural immune response to HIV.”
  Lancet, 1998, 352 982–9831998