Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

HIV & AIDS Health Center

Font Size

HIV Drug Resistance Not Patients' Fault

Best Patients Get Most Drug-Resistant HIV
WebMD Health News

Aug. 20, 2003 -- You can't blame patients for HIV drug resistance.

The AIDS virus is notoriously good at becoming resistant to anti-HIV drugs. It's common to blame patients who don't take their drugs exactly as prescribed. But that's wrong, a new study suggests.

Study leader David R. Bangsberg, MD, is director of the University of California, San Francisco Epidemiology and Prevention Interventions Center. His team studied HIV drug resistance and adherence to anti-HIV drug regimens in 148 patients. The study appears in the Sept. 5 issue of AIDS.

The surprising finding: Those who were best at taking their medicine were most likely to develop HIV drug resistance. There was relatively little drug-resistant virus in patients who weren't taking their medicine as prescribed.

"There's one clear message here," Bangsberg tells WebMD. "The relationship between drug resistance and adherence to anti-HIV drugs is complex. This does not mean patients with HIV should take less of their drugs. That would be the same as taking no medications at all -- and they would go back to the natural course of HIV infection, which we know is bad."

Medicine Takers Do Better

Robert Gross, MD, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania center for clinical epidemiology and biostatistics, has studied the issue of adherence to anti-HIV drugs.

"Preventing resistance is important, but it is much more important to prevent disease," Gross tells WebMD. "Resistance is not a human outcome, it is a virus outcome. The human outcome is: Did a person get sick? And people who keep taking their anti-HIV treatment despite getting resistant virus do better than those who stop treatment."

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

How much do you know?
contemplative man
What to do now.
Should you be tested?
HIV under microscope
What does it mean?
HIV AIDS Screening
man opening condom wrapper
HIV AIDS Treatment
Discrimination Stigma
Treatment Side Effects
grilled chicken and vegetables
obese man standing on scale
cold sore