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Drugs May Offer AIDS Prevention 230 230

FlipFlopSnowMan writes "There is an interesting article on MSNBC about the possibility of preventing AIDS using the same pills that are currently used to fight the virus in affected individuals." From the article: "The drugs are tenofovir (Viread) and emtricitabine, or FTC (Emtriva), sold in combination as Truvada by Gilead Sciences Inc., a California company best known for inventing Tamiflu, a drug showing promise against bird flu. Unlike vaccines, which work through the immune system -- the very thing HIV destroys -- AIDS drugs simply keep the virus from reproducing. They already are used to prevent infection in health care workers accidentally exposed to HIV, and in babies whose pregnant mothers receive them."
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Drugs May Offer AIDS Prevention

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  • by Loundry (4143) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @09:25AM (#15009904) Journal
    As an AIDS heretic, I find articles like these tiresome to read. There have been many, many such articles about "curing AIDS" which have all proven to be sound and fury signifying nothing. I think the reason for this is because AIDS has become something much larger than a disease. It is a way of life for thousands of scientists, a huge cash cow for drug manufacturers, and a political plank for both gay activists and gay-bashing activists.

    If you are open to the idea that the orthodoxy about AIDS might not be correct or might not be scientific, then I suggest you read these two pieces of investigative journalism that came out a couple of months ago. They detail in the most succinct way possible how AIDS came about, and that is *VERY* hard to do because of how immensely complex this subject is.

    http://www.sparks-of-light.org/HIVGATE%20-%20revie w%20copy.pdf [sparks-of-light.org]

    http://www.sparks-of-light.org/AIDSGATE%20-%20what %20caused%20AIDS%20if%20not%20HIV.pdf [sparks-of-light.org]

    If you think that I'm insane, or that I just want to have a whole lot of unprotected sex, or that I'm a conspiracy theorist, then please just ignore this post. It means that you are not open-minded to criticism of your ideas, and the only thing I want to do is give criticism of the HIV-AIDS hypothesis a fair hearing. I believe that there are HUGE problems with the hypothesis and it has led to many people getting fabulously wealthy off of what has turned out to be misdiagnosis. I am aware that this is a serious charge, and I do not take this subject lightly.

    All of that is in effort to say, "Don't mod me down. Don't be a jerk. Don't prevent someone who *wants* to hear what I have to say from hearing it." I hope it works.
  • Re:Ah, man.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xnderxnder (626189) <dan@noSpaM.hindgrindr.com> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @09:34AM (#15009959)

    Yeah no kidding. Even if you fuck someoone bareback who definitely has AIDS, the odds of transmission are still only like 1 in 10,000.

    Have they really tested this drug on THAT many accidentally exposed healthcare workers? Isn't it possible that perhaps the people exposed just didn't get the disease?

    No, nitwit. "Accidentally exposed healthcare workers" generally means needle pricks and contact with infected blood. Google "post exposure prophylaxis" [google.com] (PEP) to see what's done now. This treatment would certainly help matters, as I understand the PEP treatment is really harsh on your body.

  • by Fhqwhgadss (905393) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @10:23AM (#15010297)
    But I think there's a large social issue here.

    You hit the nail right on the head. In the United States at least, AIDS is far more of a social problem than a medical problem. The fact that it firt appeared in the gay male community has had an enormous impact on the way that the disease is perceived.

    For society that was founded on puitanical grounds, AIDS has been a godsend (pun intended). The evangelicals had a way to immediately lash out against homosexuality as the cause of all of our problems. When the disease migrated to the straight population, we were inundated with the I-got-AIDS-on-my-first-time stories and told to save ourselves for marriage. Fear, whether of AIDS or the lake of fire, is the puritan's greatest weapon.

    Then there's the fact that a large portion of our entertainment industry is gay. With the deaths of Rock Hudson and Liberace on thier minds, entertainers became more open and it gradually became more acceptable to homosexuals to "come out." The most significant positive side-effect of AIDS has been the acceptance of homosexuality as at least real, if not acceptable, to American society in general.

    The somewhat ironic thing is that without the wanton promiscuity that came about as a backlash against Amirican puritanism, AIDS would not be nearly as widespread as it is today. If it were acceptable to have sex with more than one person on a regular basis, but within a group of mutually respected, trusted, and loved individuals, containment of the disease would be far easier. As it is we live on two extermes: one of excess and one of fear, and the two ideologies feed each other.

    AIDS in the US if far more of a social construct than a medical one. There are very few places outside of sub-Saharan Africa that have a greater than 2% infection rate, and even so a great majority of those 2% are in well-defined high-risk groups. Yes, prevention is needed. Yes, research into medical treatment is needed. But can we stop calling it a pandemic already? Sensationalism does not serve the public interest.

  • Re:Vaccine (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MirrororriM (801308) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @10:25AM (#15010320) Homepage Journal
    We would all be better off if there was simply a vaccine for viral diseases, instead of drugs which have been proven to stimulate the evolution of resistant strains. Vaccines on the other hand have been proven to not only reduce the incidence of disease, but also virtually completely eradicate them, e.g. smallpox.

    Easy - because there's no money in the cure. They want your repeat business to feed their cash cow. How are they going to do that with a one-time cure?

  • All about the odds (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alexhmit01 (104757) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @10:25AM (#15010321)
    Look, it was a big deal a few years ago when straight people hit the 50% make of HIV infections in the US, hit as high in the upper 50s, and then saw a rise in the gay community. Some speculated that while the 50% mark made it easier to sell AIDS as a problem for everyone, not just the gay community, it also caused the gay community to take their eye off the ball.

    Regardless, say 50% of the AIDS cases are in the male gay community. The male gay community is between 1.5% and 3.5% of the US population. That means that 2.5% of the population is responsible for 50% of the cases, and 97.5% is responsible for the other 50%.

    AIDS remains a GAY problem, because you are 40x more likely to contract AIDS in the gay community. A single, moderate income gay man in an urban area may be more than happy to spend $1,000/mo. from his disposable income to engage in this behavior. In urban areas, the heterosexual community is rarely focused on future financial planning and preparing for children, I can't imagine that the gay community is MORE focused away from hedonism then their straight neighbors.

    That said, can you get AIDS from heterosexual sex? Of course, but not likely. The transmission rate from a man to a woman via vaginal sex is a fraction of the rate from anal sex... less than half. And the transmission rate from a woman to a man via vaginal sex is EXTREMELY low.

    What does this mean? A man having sex on occaision with a prostitute is mathematically unlikely to catch HIV, but if he does, it is more likely that he passes it to his wife than it was that he got it. However, that same prostitute has a decent chance of getting HIV if a few of her customers have it.

    In addition, a man having sex with a prostitute no doubt will add 1-3 additional sexual partners. A woman working as a prostitute will have from 2-12 partners/DAY.

    The fact is, there are areas where the return from the drugs may play a benefit to society. Keeping prostitutes from getting HIV could have a HUGE impact on the culture at large. While a VERY small percentage of men go to prostitutes, if you figure that each prostitute has sex with 25 men/week (a low figure) and a 4% transmission rate, then each HIV-postiive prostitute infects one straight male each week. If half of those men are married or otherwise having sex with a partner regularly, then they WILL infect their wife/partner over time, as the transmission rate is around 20%-30%.

    So an HIV positive prostitute will cause 1.5 additional infections per week, MINIMUM, assuming that the client and their spouse/partner DOESN'T commit any additional infidelities.

    At under $1000/mo./prositute, I bet it is a positive return to give the drug away. When an infected Prostitute causes 75 infections, even if we assume that each case only bleeds the government for $10k (the rest borne by private insurance), avoiding an infected prostitute saves you 750,000/year. At less than $12,000/year for the prevention, if we assume that 1/60 prostitutes is invected, then we spend less than $720,000 to save $750,000 in treatment.... Each saved life is a bonus!

    My point is, normal single straight person that has 1-4 partners a year probably won't cough up $1k/month to reduce their already low risk. Extremely sexually active gay male with 4+ partners a month probably will. Gay man in monogamous relationship or in a normal dating patter, 1-3 partners/year probably will. Woman working as a prostitute SHOULD do so, but can't afford it, but might be targetted by a government that wants to stop the spread.

    There are people that will cough up the money, or at least should, and areas where society would benefit from doing so, but no, the general population need not be on permenant AIDS treatment.
  • Mod Parent Up! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JesusPancakes (941204) <jesusNO@SPAMcinci.rr.com> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @03:50PM (#15012738) Homepage
    This motherfucker knows what he's talking about.

    About five years ago... No, I'm sorry, six or seven. Anyway, a long time ago, my girlfriend at the time and I were hanging out outside a bowling alley waiting for a ride home and she put her hand down on a hypodermic needle. Now, there was no way of telling whether this had been used for insulin or heroin, and she had to go into a regimen of anti-hepatitis and anti-HIV drugs.

    The side effects were... awesome. She became moodier than she had ever been, went from having a period every three months to having one every three weeks, and cheated on me with two of my best friends and two of my other friends.

    Fuck these drugs. :-D

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