A federal study released Monday shows that with triple-combination drug therapy, the death and illness rates in HIV-positive people drop by half, offering the clearest evidence yet of the profoundly positive impact of the new treatments.
Before the study sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was released, physicians assumed that the triple-drug combinations were working to treat HIV infection based only on laboratory findings, such as the amount of virus in a patient’s blood.
This is the first large study to show these therapies work where it counts: reducing the numbers of deaths and AIDS-associated illnesses.
The NIAID study involved 1,156 AIDS patients from all over the United States who took either a two-drug combination of AZT and 3TC or a three-drug combination that added the protease inhibitor indinavir, manufactured by Merck.
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