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BETA. 2006 Winter;18(2):41-7.

A guide to clinical trials. Part II: interpreting medical research.


Part I of this two-part article, which appeared in the Summer 2005 issue of BETA, provided an overview of the clinical trial process. Part II covers features of clinical trials and interpretation of study results. Clinical trials provide the foundation for evidence-based medicine, or medical decision-making guided by data from formal research. Medical professionals keep up with the latest information by reading peer-reviewed medical journals and attending conferences. Likewise, HIV positive people can keep abreast of the state of the art by following the medical literature and community publications like BETA. Trials offer important information about a therapy's benefits and risks in a population, but they cannot predict how well a given treatment will work for a specific person. Healthcare providers, therefore, must still rely heavily on clinical experience, intuition, and a careful evaluation of the various factors unique to each individual case--the practice of medicine remains an art as well as a science.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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