The New Wave of HIV Drugs is Here

The New Wave of HIV Drugs is Here

For the first time in 10 years, HIV+ patients will have access to two new HIV drug classes. Patients with ongoing viral replication that have been failing current medicines will have a “second chance” to control their HIV by starting new drugs to which their virus has not mutated and become resistant. It is estimated that 20 % of the half a million patients taking HIV medications in the US are not responding to their meds and have ongoing viral replication in their bodies that may shorten their life spans and also make them more infectious to others.

No single HIV medication can control HIV by itself, needing at least two more in combination. But many people have HIV that has developed multidrug resistance (MDR) by mutating around medicines, which allows the virus to aggressively kill the CD4 cells that “direct” the immune system’s response against invaders. MDR patients need to start at least 2-3 “active” drugs that their virus has never seen, but most have not had that luxury in the past few years due to drug approvals that did not happen cocurrently. Fortunately, two new drugs that work in completely new ways are making this possibility a reality for the first time since protease inhibitors were introduced to the market 10 years ago. A new entry inhibitor (Maraviroc , trade name: Selzentry) that works at attempting to block the attachment of HIV to the CD4 T cell, and the first integrase inhibitor (Raltegravir, trade name: Isentress) that works inside the nucleus of the CD4 cell, provide effective new targets to attack the virus. The most critical thing right now is to educate physicians and patients on how to best use these new drugs so that their benefits at lowering viral load to undetectable levels are sustained until a cure is found. Other medications like Fuzeon ( an approved fusion inhibitor), Aptivus and Prezista ( approved second generation protease inhibitors), and TMC 125 ( a second generation non nucleoside analog in expanded access) can be combined with the two novel agents approved this year to hit the virus in different parts of its life cycle outside and inside the CD4 cell.

“I recently started Raltegravir with two other active medicines and my viral load has become undectable for the first time in many years”, said Sharon Braiteh of Houston.” I just pray that my viral load is controlled for a long time so that my immune system can be restored for my body to fight my current cancer and infections”, added Braiteh.

“This is the second wave of HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) that will save a lot of lives”, said long term survivor , activist and educator Nelson Vergel. ” I urge patients not to screw up this last chance to get an effective combination before we go through another dry period of no new drugs in the coming few years…It is imperative to do your homework before jumping into a new regimen with limited data”, added Vergel.

Nelson Vergel will be giving the last update for this year on recent conferences that had new data on these and other emerging options for HIV treatment. His lecture will be held on

Monday, September 17

Grady Infectious Disease Program

341 Ponce de Leon Ave

Atlanta, GA 30308

Advance Reservations are required.

Register by calling Positive Impact at 404-589-9040

You may also e-mail:

More information on new HIV medications can be found at Nelson’s web site

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