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Experts likely to re-think HIV treatment


WASHINGTON -- After years of recommending AZT as the first-line drug for treating the virus that causes AIDS, federal health officials are considering a change because of results with other drugs.

A large study paid for by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and reported last week found that AZT was less effective than another drug, didanosine (ddI), and also less effective than combinations of AZT with either ddI or zalcitabine (ddC).

One part of the study showed that ddI lowered the rate of death from HIV infection to 5 percent from 10 percent, compared with the use of AZT alone over 147 weeks.

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