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  health > AIDS > story pageAIDSAgingAlternative MedicineCancerChildrenDiet & FitnessMenWomen

Scientists focus on AIDS drug dilemma


January 31, 2000
Web posted at: 2:32 p.m. EST (1932 GMT)

By Eileen O'Connor

SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) -- Scientists are meeting this week in San Francisco to learn the latest ways to treat AIDS and fight the HIV virus that causes the disease.

Some of the experts are focusing upon the newly emerged AIDS-treatment dilemma -- drug combinations stall the disease but are so toxic that they may produce debilitating side effects.

"There's a lot of good news, but there's also some very sobering aspects of this that really must prompt us to continue to try and find newer drugs that are as potent or more potent with considerably less toxicity," said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health.

VideoCNN's Eileen O'Connor reports on a conference discussing ways to treat HIV and AIDS.
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Redge Norton of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation uses acupuncture, massage and nutritional therapy to combat the side effects of the powerful drugs.

"It really helped to get my appetite back to normal," he said. "And I feel more like myself again."

Norton's physician, Dr. Bill Owen, said that approach works on many of his patients.

"Patients -- when they really have control over their lives and over their disease in some way -- I think are overall going to do better regardless of whether that comes from traditional treatments or a combination of western medicine plus other alternative approaches," Owen said.

A recurrent theme this week will be giving some patients drug holidays. The idea is to use drugs to suppress the HIV virus and then start and stop the drugs repeatedly until the immune system learns to attack the virus.

Dr. Franco Lori of the Research Institute for Genetic and Human Therapy is having good results with several patients.

"If the immune system can be activated in that way, then the issue system will be able to control eventually the HIV as we do daily with other viruses like herpes," Lori said.

Also this week, experts are expected to present several studies on an HIV vaccine, which is still years away from being fully developed.

AIDS virus stays in check during drug holiday, research shows
January 21, 2000
U.S. steps up global fight against AIDS
January 10, 2000

San Franscisco AIDS Foundation
Research Institute for Genetic and Human Therapy
National Institutes of Health
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