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More patients responding to HIV treatment

The number of HIV patients in Switzerland failing to respond to treatment has dropped significantly over the past decade, scientists have reported.

Researchers at the Swiss National Science Foundation on Wednesday said that new drug cocktails were responsible for the decline.

In 1999, between 50 and 57 per cent of HIV patients were resistant to drugs. That number had dropped to between 37 and 45 per cent by 2007, the organisation said in a statement.

Until 1996, HIV patients could usually take advantage of only one or two drug cocktails. More than 75 per cent of patients at the time could expect to develop full-blown Aids. By 2001, that rate had dropped to 16 per cent.

However, the researchers warned that while current treatments delay the onset of Aids, they do not prevent it. They also said that only countries that could afford antiretroviral drugs experienced decreases.

There are between 16,000 and 20,000 people in Switzerland living with HIV and nearly 800 new cases each year.

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