Today’s medications now enable people with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, to live longer and healthier lives and without many of the debilitating and inconvenient side effects of earlier versions of medications.  New York Hospital Queens (NYHQ) is participating in several clinical research studies of new investigational treatments for people with HIV.

The studies are being conducted through the hospital’s Special Care Clinic under protocols approved by the United States Government’s Food and Drug Administration.  For HIV-positive patients, there are many advantages to taking part in a clinical study, also known as a clinical trial. Participants receive study medications, physical examinations and laboratory testing free of charge from NYHQ medical staff.  In addition, participants may be eligible for reimbursement of transportation costs to, and from, treatment appointments.

The FDA has approved more than 25 antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV infection. These drugs can help people with HIV to improve their overall immune system function and status, suppress symptoms and improve their quality of life.

According to Sorana Segal-Maurer, M.D., attending physician in the Infectious Disease Division’s Special Care Clinic at New York Hospital Queens, “When the anti-HIV therapies now in widespread use are prescribed and taken correctly, a patient’s viral load can be suppressed completely, and AIDS-related illnesses and death can be delayed and/or prevented.”

Current treatments are well-tolerated and available in the form of a few pills.  This has significantly improved patients’ ability to take their medications regularly.  However, research continues in an effort to create more single-tablet combination treatments as well as treatment for virus that are resistant to current medications.   “This is why our team constantly tests new drugs that are being developed. We want to find ones that will be as effective, more tolerable, have fewer side effects, and are in fewer tablets than those in current use,” said Dr. Segal-Maurer. “We have several ongoing studies for which we are seeking HIV positive adults to enroll.”

NYHQ’s Special Care Clinic is currently seeking patients for the following studies:

  • Gilead 0106 -for people who are HIV-positive and virologically suppressed (no detection of the HIV virus for at least 6 months) on a protease inhibitor combination who are interested in switching from their existing HIV regimen to a once-a-day, single tablet investigational product (Truvada plus an investigational agent).
  • GSK ING 111762 SAILING -for people who are HIV-positive and have had resistance to two or more anti-HIV drugs during their treatment and have never taken an integrase inhibitor. Those who qualify may receive treatment for up to 48 weeks.
  • GSK ING 111467 SINGLE -for those who are HIV-positive and are “naïve” to treatment, meaning they have not had any previous anti-HIV therapy. Patients who qualify may receive treatment for up to 96 weeks.

Adults must be 18 years of age or older and not pregnant or breastfeeding to participate. Individuals can learn more about these trials and to see if they qualify to participate by calling (718) 670-2530.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 33 million people are living with HIV worldwide and 2.7 million people are newly infected each year.  In this country, New York City is the epicenter of HIV/AIDS. According to the New York City Department of Health, more than 107,000 New Yorkers are living with HIV, but thousands more do not know they are infected. HIV is the third leading cause of death for New York City residents aged 35 to 54. In 2008, there were 3,809 new cases of HIV diagnosed in New York City, 604 of those new cases were in Queens.

The Infectious Disease Division in the Department of Medicine at New York Hospital Queens provides clinical consultations for inpatients and outpatients with infectious diseases in response to requests by NYHQ-affiliated physicians or those practicing in the community. The division also serves as a New York State AIDS Designated Center, providing ongoing care on an outpatient basis for approximately 800 HIV-infected individuals in the Special Care Clinic.

New York Hospital Queens is a member of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System and an affiliate of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.