Minggu, 10 Agustus 2008

A Daily Pill Against HIV Infection

First came the news that several AIDS vaccine trials had to be halted because the vaccines just didn’t work. Then last week the CDC admitted that number of people newly infected with HIV in the U.S. each year is nearly 40% higher than previously reported. Is there ANY good news on the AIDS front?

Well, yes…..maybe. A document released this month by the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition describes a potentially powerful new HIV prevention method called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP.) It’s a simple notion, really – that a daily pill consisting of one or more of the current AIDS treatment drugs might prevent HIV infection from occurring in the first place. There are at least seven clinical trials of PrEP either planned or underway using the drugs tenofovir and emtricitabine, both of which are already approved for treating people who are currently HIV-positive.

No one knows for sure whether PrEP will work, but there are some promising signs that it might. But even if PrEP does prevent HIV infection, there would still be the issues of access and cost. In order to prevent HIV infection the drug would need to be available to a lot of healthy people, rather than just the few who are already infected.

A report on the status of PrEP research and some of the issues related to its use in AIDS prevention can be accessed at www.avac.org/prep08.pdf.

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