Treatment training manual

8. 3 Why research is important

Modern medicine is often called ‘evidence-based medicine’.

This is because it is based on treatments or strategies that have been proven to show an advantage compared to other approaches.

Well-designed research can produce results that can be carefully studied, and then repeated in similar trials.

Without trial results, treatment decisions would only be based on:

  • Guesswork or intuition.
  • The hope that a treatment works.
  • Untypical results.
  • Commercial marketing and hype.

Hard evidence is needed to know how to improve care.

Trials can show which drugs are better than others. For example, that continuous treatment is better than taking treatment breaks. Or that tenofovir DF has fewer side effects than d4T.

Research can show which strategies are better than others. For example, that combinations that include three drugs to treat HIV are better that combinations with two drugs.

Last updated: 1 December 2015.