The Good News: We're Not All Dying of AIDS. The Bad News: That Doesn't Mean We're Cured

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HIV drug therapy is undeniably one of the most successful medical breakthroughs of the last century.

In 1995, complications from AIDS was the leading cause of death for adults 25-44.  Today, thanks to HIV medication, people with HIV can live for decades.  And drug therapy helps suppress the virus, which means our entire community stays healthier. 

It’s a win-win, right?

But nearly 25 years after the first multi-drug therapy was developed, we’re learning more about the long-term effects of its use.  HIV medications bring their own set of damaging side effects, including kidney and liver damage, osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease. 

"The issue is that more than 50% of patients who are infected with HIV are over 50 years of age," says Dr. David Wright, Austin physician and Dell Medical School Professor.  "Probably greater than 75% of patients [over 50 years of age] have been taking HIV anti-viral medications for more than 10-15 years and nobody really knows the downside to that." 

The long-term effects of HIV medications are an emerging issue for AIDS service organizations.  But thanks to your generosity, people with HIV in Austin have a real safety net underneath them. 

The people who turn to Project Transitions for help are living lives filled with hardship: extreme poverty, homelessness, substance abuse, and mental health issues — sometimes all of those at the same time.  Those conditions make it even more difficult for them to sustain an HIV treatment plan, or adjust to its consequences.

But because you care enough to build a community of support around people in need with HIV, they don’t have to face the future — or the long-term consequences of their medication — alone.  You make that happen, every day.  Thank you!