Health: Aids sufferers denied best treatment, claims doctor

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The Independent Online
People who are HIV-positive are being denied a "powerful cocktail of drugs" used to attack the infection because of a lack of funding, according to a report published in the New Scientist today.

Ray Brettle, head of the infectious diseases unit at Edinburgh's City Hospital, said there was "no way" that he could afford to give an array of drugs to patients attending his clinic.

The "triple therapy", consisting of dual levels of AZT and a layer of protease inhibitors, which stops the virus before it has a chance to attack the immune system, is given to patients who have a low number of CD4 cells, a particular type of white blood cell.

Dr Brettle said this treatment would cost his clinic, which is the largest in the country, pounds 3m a year, well over his pounds 600,000 budget.

But researchers in France, who interviewed more than 7,000 patients, claim that denying treatment because of the cost of medicine could be a false economy, as the extra drugs keep people well and out of hospital.