In this medical video learn about a new study which uncovers a powerful player in the treatment of HIV.
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Jennifer Matthews: Pam Simpson won't forget the day she was diagnosed with HIV. Pam Simpson: I've gotten clean. I'm in this relationship. My life has changed. I really want to live, and now I have AIDS and I'm going to die. Jennifer Matthews: That was 18 years ago. Since then, she has been on four different therapies, often taking several pills a day. There are 26 approved HIV drugs and at least a dozen ways they can be combined. Sharon Riddler: Virtually all of the medications that are available now are used in some patients with good effect. Certainly, the best treatment is always the first treatment. Jennifer Matthews: In a study, one combination therapy that included the drug Sustiva was significantly more effective in patients who had never been treated. Sharon Riddler: It inhibits the virus enzyme, prevents the virus from making copies of itself. Jennifer Matthews: After two years, 89 percent of patients on Sustiva had undetectable virus levels. Pam switched to a once-a-day combo containing Sustiva and says it's easier. Pam Simpson: I take both of them in the evening. I don't have to worry about carrying pills with me anymore. So it's ideal. I'm just loving it. Jennifer Matthews: Her levels remain undetectable. With her dogs, Ali and Roxanne, Pam keeps her stress low and her outlook good. Pam Simpson: I think I will probably live to be an old lady. Jennifer Matthews: That's something she never dreamed of 18 years ago. Now, she knows anything is possible.This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.