This health video focuses on the best treatment for AIDS sufferers.
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Jennifer Matthews: Since his diagnosis 12 years ago, Paul Dalton has taken his share of pills to stop his AIDS from progressing. Paul Dalton: I think I've taken 13 of the 20 that have been approved. My only issue has been side effects. Jennifer Matthews: Doctors say today, just one combination of three drugs could last a lifetime. Robert Shafer: It is possible with a once or twice a day regimen to keep the virus suppressed; I would go out on a limb, and say forever. Jennifer Matthews: In a recent study, Stanford Doctor Robert Shafer followed newly diagnosed patients taking their first HIV drugs. Results show a combination of AZT, lamivudine and efavirenz or EFV, controlled the virus longer with fewer side effects. Robert Shafer: That regimen was the best regimen of the four that we studied, however, there are many other good three-drug combinations. Jennifer Matthews: Federal guidelines recommend drug combinations for new patients. But there are no guidelines for what to do when drugs fail. More than 100,000 patients in the U.S. experience drug resistance. Doctor Shafer hopes to bridge the gap with a database that tracks which drugs helped turn resistant patients around. Robert Shafer: It's really more for people who are developing guidelines on what are the best salvage therapy regimens. Jennifer Matthews: After thirteen drugs, Paul's options are running out. For him, the best combination may be science and funding. Paul Dalton: You know, we're still nowhere close to the cure, and that's really where we need to go. Jennifer Matthews: Hopefully this new study will help researchers get there. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.