Big time news on the fight against AIDS out of Rome today, and it essentially boils down to this: antiretrovirals work (at least, an astoundingly high percentage of the time when they are used correctly). At the biggest forum on HIV and AIDS in the 30-year battle against the deadly epidemic (it still kills 5,000 people a day, FYI), two breakthrough findings show that antiretrovirals (ARVs) not only battle HIV in infected persons, but can stop the disease from spreading in two important ways: it helps prevent HIV-positive folk from transmitting the disease, and also helps prevent non-infected people from contracting it.
A handful of big-time findings were presented, but two stand out. The first major strategy under study, known as "Treatment as Prevention," showed that when HIV-positive people were given an early start on HIV drugs, the chances of their transmitting the virus to their non-infected partners dropped by an astounding 96 percent.
The second major finding goes by the acronym PreP, for pre-exposure prophylaxis. PreP involves giving ARVs to non-infected partners of HIV-positive subjects as opposed to the infected partner. This also works with statistically significant frequency, cutting transmission by 73 percent.
PreP, however, raises ethical issues as well. When some nine million HIV-infected people the world over are in need of daily ARVs, it's very tough to justify giving them to those who aren't infected just to stem the spread. Which leads us to the crux of the matter: HIV/AIDS prevention needs cash to roll these ARVs out in the field, and right now free cash around the world is on the decline.
Western nations, the major source of this kind of funding, are cutting budgets. Organization like the WHO and the UN, normally the fundraisers for this kind of relief, are tightening the purse strings right at the point when it might be possible to turn back the tide on HIV, which added 2.6 million infected people to its rolls in 2009. Says the AFP: "Just to get 15 million badly-infected people on AIDS drugs by 2015, in line with the newly stated goal by UN members, will require between $22 billion and $24 billion annually."
So as always it comes down to money. But there is hope: Just last week California-based Giliead Sciences inked a deal with the UN's medical patent pool to allow Indian firms that specialize in generic pharmaceuticals to make cheap copies of four leading ARVs for sale in 100 poor countries. And some low doses of ARVs can be offered now in pill form for just 25 cents a day.
My cousing died from AIDS. I miss my cousin. I hope they find a cure soon. God bless all those people who are sick.
I am a volunteer emergency first responder, and we have long used a cocktail of anti-retrovirals in case we are accidentally pricked by a needle. So far I have never needed to use it, but I know people who have stuck infected syringes through their hands while bouncing around in the back of an ambulance. Fortunately, the odds of contracting the disease from a single needle prick are quite low.
BTW, my uncle was a tattoo artist who died from HIV that he says he contracted accidentally tattooing someone who later told him he had the disease. ARVs for people like tattoo artists would likely be a good idea.
It's debatable on how many people actually die of AIDS (HIV). It's more like those people die from diseases that they can't fight off because of AIDS. The same thing goes for Alzheimers, nobody actually dies because of the disease they just die because they forgot to take a medicine, look to see if a car is coming before they cross the street, or something else along that line.
Oh and does it truly cost that much make the drugs and deliver it to patients or does it have a lot to do with making money from it.
Found a couple issues:
- First, for man on man sex, a person perscribed the pill was only 44% less likely to contract HIV. This is mainly due to them not taking the pill.
- Second, for Man on woman sex a person perscribed the pill was 63% less likely to contract HIV.
- Third, based on reasons no one wants to agree with, HIV transmission is significantly different between African populations and the rest of the world. How we deal with HIV in Africa should be appropriately matched.
- Finally, Uganda and Kenya have reported significant declines in the percentage of infected. There is hope.
This is a great development. But it still would require people to actually take the medicine (each day?). The same problem exists with condoms. If cheap enough or provided by the governments, NGO`s, etc, HIV infected could use them (both male or the female condoms) and stop the Entire AIDS problem from spreading in the first place.
But yet, Many of these Aids patients show zero concern for their own actions. How can you solve a problem when so many patients are either ignorant or unwilling. Many of them so ignorant they Even rape young (virgin) Woman because they believe it will cure their Aids. Unfortunately it seems that Aids will not be removed from society for many years to come.