AIDS patients in developing countries, where effective treatments were late in coming, may be more likely to avoid drug resistance than patients who have been treated for years with other medicines. VOA's Art Chimes reports from the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in San Francisco
Today's best AIDS drugs - actually, a cocktail of several medicines - are very effective. But they become less effective as the virus develops resistance.
One of the world's leading experts on HIV/AIDS, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says the newest drugs work best on those who have never been treated with the old single or two-drug treatments.
"The people who respond really well are those who've never had a drug before, and you start off with the maximum therapy," Dr. Fauci says. "And that's exactly what's going on in Africa. They never had the advantage of a single drug or a double drug so when they get therapy, they get top-line therapy.
Fauci said there a number of new drugs in the development pipeline. The challenge, he said, will be to bring them to market at an affordable price. Negotiation with drug companies by private donors such as the Clinton Foundation, and the availability of generic drugs, may help.