An ongoing regimen of HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) keeps HIV from exploding into AIDS. In the clinic, where patients precisely follow the HAART program, it wipes out detectable virus in more than 90% of patients. In the real world, where patients forget a pill here and there, the success rate falls to 50% or 60%, says Dean Hamer of the National Cancer Institute. In addition, HAART itself creates problems.

Few, if any, patients could stay with HAART forever. "There are lots of problems with it," says Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. HAART attacks organs. It can trigger metabolic problems, including diabetes, high cholesterol, and more. Worse still, even supposedly resting HIV replicates a bit, maybe enough to develop drug resistance while escaping the medication's detection. In a study of just 377 subjects, Susan J. Little and her colleagues at the University...

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?