Consent to treatment with zidovudine among HIV-infected patients
Kwan Kew Lai, DMD, MDAddress reprints to K.K.L, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655.
Zidovudine delays the progression of disease in asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but it can cause serious adverse reactions, a fact which makes zidovudine treatment undesirable to some patients. In this study, zidovudine was offered to HIV-infected patients with CD4 leukocyte counts between 200 and 500 cells/μL, and the acceptance or refusal of therapy was recorded over a 4-month period. Of 73 patients approached, 49 (67%) consented to the therapy (23 asymptomatic and 26 with AIDS-related complex). The high acceptance rate of zidovudine among both asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic HIV patients raises the question of finding additional financial resources and health care providers for close monitoring of side effects.