- LONDON (Reuters) - British AIDS experts said on Friday that they feared
that gaps in the treatment of HIV patients could lead to the creation of
a super-HIV virus. They voiced their concern after Crusaid, a national
AIDS charity, published the results of a MORI poll of specialists in Britain
that showed inequalities in treatments across the country.
- ``The results of this study are a real
cause of concern because we know that ineffective HIV treatment causes
the evolution of drug-resistant 'super-HIV' which can then be transmitted
to new patients,'' Dr James Deutsch, a biologist and chief executive of
Crusaid, said in a statement. ``Only by providing patients across the country
with up-to-date, effective treatment can we stop the development of a new
epidemic resistant to the current drugs.'' The telephone survey of 110
British specialists found that only half of them consistently prescribed
the latest triple drug therapies, which tackle the HIV virus that causes
AIDS, for patients in the later stages of the illness. One third of the
doctors also recommended patients seek treatment outside their local health
authority so they could have better access to clinical programmes.
- ``The findings of this study clearly
shows that there are variations in access to therapeutic options across
the U.K.,'' said Mr Mike Youle, an HIV specialist at the Chelsea &
Westminster Hospital in London. ``There are worrying indications of the
fairly widespread use of low strength combinations (of drugs) which if
inappropriately used may compromise future therapy choices.'' Youle said
the results of the poll show that clearer mandates are needed to allow
patients and their doctors to use all available antiretroviral and other
HIV treatments regardless of where they live in the country.
- There is no cure for AIDS but promising
drug combinations which include protease inhibitors that block an enzyme
that is crucial for the replication of the virus have given new hope and
extended the lives of thousands of sufferers.