Discoveries announced at conference leave scientists feeling optimistic; yet their enthusiasm is tempered by several persistent concerns.
AIDS researchers have many reasons to be encouraged. Studies show that treatments combining new and old drugs can control HIV levels in the blood. Moreover, many scientists and activists note, prevention efforts have helped reduce HIV infection rates. Yet the enthusiasm is tempered by several caveats. Drugs are expensive and have harsh side effects, leading some to believe the only way to win the war against AIDS is with a vaccine. Resistance continues to be a concern. And no one has shown long-term benefit -- whether these drugs can delay onset of disease or prolong life. What's more, there is little evidence that the virus can be eradicated from the body.

Still, optimism is running high about recent advances in AIDS research, news of which was the highlight of the 11th International Conference...

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