Although it didn't translate into rising share prices, last week's AIDS meeting in Vancouver probably was the most upbeat ever. And although there were no surprises at the meeting, presentations helped consolidate themes in AIDS treatment that have been emerging over the past year or so. We gleaned five major messages from the meeting.

First, protease inhibitors continue to look exciting. Data from a number of the inhibitors reinforces the evidence that they reduce viral burdens in patients. Second-generation products from Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) and Agouron Pharmaceuticals (AGPH) continue to look