Volume 7 Number 1/2 January/February 2006

This double issue of HTB includes additional reports from the EACS and ICAAC conferences held at the end of 2005 plus our usual round-up of articles on treatment access and related treatment news.

Most notable, has been the decision to stop the international SMART trial on safety reasons, based on a DSMB recommendation in January. From the limited information released so far, it appears that the main question of whether there are benefits of treatment interruptions as outlined in the SMART protocol that outweigh the risks, has been answered after less than two of the planned nine years follow-up.

An interim safety analysis requested by the DSMB showed a greater number of AIDS events including deaths in the treatment interruption arm compared to the continuous treatment arm. After seeing unblided data the SMART Executive Committee agreed with the recommendation from the DSMB.

With almost 5500 patients recruited, the study was sufficiently powered to determine that these differences were highly statistically significant after such short follow-up. Please see the Antiretrovirals section of this issue of HTB for important details and news.

Further speculation on the results will be dependent on public access to the data, which will be at a late breaker presentation at the 13th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Denver in a couple of weeks. Full details, and our own analysis, will be reported after this presentation, together with other news from CROI, in the next issue of HTB.

Treatment Information Line – new information about this service included with this issue – please publicise

With distribution of this issue of HTB, we have included single copies of our new leaflet, poster and postcards, publicising the i-Base Treatment Information Service.

The service provides a free telephone information line, staffed by HIV positive advocates who are experts in HIV treatment. We offer the latest treatment information to a range of HIV positive people, their families and carers. We also send individually tailored printed information as follow up (also free of charge), and when requested, and if appropriate, can advocate directly for people who need additional support in negotiating the health system.

These materials have been developed with a wide consultation group and they represent part of a re-branding of this service. Although not included in the information, in addition to taking calls in English, support is also available in Russian, Bulgarian and Japanese.

We hope that you like the new look and will want to publicise our services to those who need them.

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.