Your Alternatives column on the treatment of HIV/AIDS (vol 4 no 11) suggests success rates that are misleading.
No one researching this dreadful epidemic regards the lack of success in finding a solution as anything but baffling. Since our awareness of the disease some 12 years ago, there has been progress in checking some of the more serious opportunistic symptoms. Even if the drug septrin (Second Opinion, WDDTY vol 4 no 12) is regarded as having a serious debilitating effect on the immune system, the use of this anti-biotic has led to significant reductions in deaths due to PCP, a type of pneumonia that often attacks AIDS sufferers.
There is a considerable amount of work being done into the use of Chinese herbs in the treatment of AIDS. But it must be clear that a study of 30 or 50 people isn't sufficient evidence of success in any field. The debacle of AZT is surely an object lesson in the dangers of rushing a remedy into use or claiming premature success.
It is very important for all those in the field of disseminating information about HIV that the greatest care should be given not to exaggerate any method of treatment until there is sufficient proof that real hope for the future exists. Dr M D Berman, Highgate, London.....
WDDTY replies: Thank you for underlining our warning about our findings until medicine comes up with a more accurate AIDS test and a definitive notion of what HIV positive means.