Combination therapies for AIDS are becoming increasingly effective, but they cannot protect against other sexually transmitted illnesses. It is unsafe for patients taking antiretroviral drugs to stop using condoms. This is one of the findings of research conducted in the Swiss HIV Cohort Study, which is supported by the SNSF.
Drugs for HIV, the virus causing AIDS, have existed for more than two decades. Therapies have been continually refined and the standard approach in the West is now a combination therapy involving various antiretroviral substances. The rationale behind this idea is that the constantly changing virus finds it harder to develop resistances against three or more drugs administered simultaneously.
Researchers point to the inconsistent use of condoms as the greatest risk factor. While the fear of AIDS has understandably diminished, there may be a tendency now to neglect other sexually transmitted illnesses. "Caution is still called for," says Günthard.
(*) von Wyl V, Yerly S, Böni J, Shah C, Cellerai C, Klimkait T, Battegay M, Bernasconi E, Cavassini M, Furrer H, Hirschel B, Vernazza PL, Ledergerber B, Günthard HF; Swiss HIV Cohort Study (2012). Incidence of HIV-1 drug resistance among antiretroviral treatment-naive individuals starting modern therapy combinations. Clin Infect Dis. 54:131-40
(**) Wandeler G, Gsponer T, Bregenzer A, Günthard HF, Clerc O, Calmy A, Stöckle M, Bernasconi E, Furrer H, Rauch A; Swiss HIV Cohort Study (2012). Hepatitis C Virus Infections in the Swiss HIV Cohort Study: A Rapidly Evolving Epidemic. Clin Infect Dis. 55:1408-1416
(Available as a PDF from the SNSF; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)The Swiss HIV Cohort Study
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