headline’s terrible (it IS from yahoo/ap, after all), but this caught my eye:
“Condoms remain the best weapon against AIDS, and the new prevention pill is not the chemical equivalent. But scientists called it a true breakthrough. The pill, Gilead Science’s Truvada, is already used to treat people with HIV. A three-year global study found that daily doses cut the risk of infection in healthy gay and bisexual men when given with condoms, counseling and other prevention services.”
truvada is the reason why it caught my eye because it’s one of the meds i take (i take two, the other is named intelence.) for my own hiv infection. the article continues:
“The drug lowered the chances of infection by 44 percent, and by 73 percent or more among men who took their pills most faithfully. Researchers had feared the pills might give a false sense of security and make men less likely to use condoms or to limit their partners, but the opposite happened — risky sex declined.
The results are “a major advance” that can help curb the epidemic in gay men, said Dr. Kevin Fenton, AIDS prevention chief at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But he warned they may not apply to people exposed to HIV through male-female sex, drug use or other ways. Studies in those groups are under way.
“Because Truvada is already on the market, the CDC is rushing to develop guidelines for doctors who want to use it to prevent HIV, and urged people to wait until those are ready.
As a practical matter, price could limit use. The pills cost $5,000 to $14,000 a year in the United States, but roughly $140 a year in some poor countries where they are sold in generic form.”
i’ve written before about to cost of my own treatment, especially since i was almost without insurance earlier this year. and one of the strangest things that i discovered from this article in regards to this is that it is in fact available as a generic drug, despite what the interweb, my pharmacy, and my doctor have said. even with insurance, my yearly cost for these pills that help me, you know, live, cost me nearly $2200 a year. more:
“Whether insurers or government health programs should pay for them is one of the tough issues to be sorted out, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“This is an exciting finding,” but it “is only one study in one specific study population,” so its impact on others is unknown, Fauci said.
His institute sponsored the study with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The findings were published online by the New England Journal of Medicine.
It is the third AIDS prevention victory in about a year. In September 2009, scientists announced that a vaccine they are now trying to improve protected 1 in 3 people from getting HIV in a study in Thailand. In July, research in South Africa showed that a vaginal gel spiked with an AIDS drug could cut nearly in half a woman’s chances of getting HIV from an infected partner.
Gay and bisexual men account for nearly half of the more than 1 million Americans living with HIV. Worldwide, more than 7,000 new infections occur each day. Only 5 to 10 percent of global cases involve sex between men…”
“…AIDS drugs already are used to prevent infection in health care workers accidentally exposed to HIV, and in babies born to infected mothers. Taking these drugs before exposure to the virus may keep it from taking hold, just as taking malaria pills in advance can prevent that disease when someone is bitten by an infected mosquito…”
“…Among men who took their pills at least half the time, the risk of infection fell by 50 percent. For those who took pills on 90 percent or more days, risk fell 73 percent. Tests of drug levels in the blood confirmed that more consistent pill-taking gave better protection, and in one subgroup, the reduction in risk was 92 percent…”
and the most curious bit i’m having a little difficulty accepting is how taking the medication might have affected these test folk’s behavior. i mean, that has to be in there somewhere, i’m certain. but i suppose, even in a testing phase, something must change in men’s minds when it comes to sex. but that’s not for me to debate, empirical data seems to show that it is working, whether physically, behaviorally, both, or not.
hmm. all of this reminds me it’s time for my daily dosage…