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Recent Progress in the Fight Against HIV AIDS

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Recent Progress in the Fight Against HIV AIDS

In just the first decade following its discovery, HIV/AIDS developed from being nearly unknown to the single-greatest cause of death for young Americans. Though significant strides have been made since that time, it continues to threaten populations world-wide. How has modern medicine contributed in recent years? Are we standing on the cusp of approving a drug that could all but cease transmission?

Recent Trials in Preventing HIV Transmission:


ALVAC plus AIDSVAX tested in Thailand; showed 31% decreased likelihood of infection.


1% TENOFIVIR GEL tested in South Africa; showed 39% decreased likelihood of infection in women.

TDF/FTC Once-daily medication tested in South America, South Africa, Thailand and US; showed 43.8% decreased likelihood of infection in gay men, transgender women.


TDF and TDF/FTC Once-daily trials continue in Kenya, Uganda, Botswana; Placebo trial stopped when great results came in: TDF showed 62% decreased likelihood of infection; TDF/FTC showed up to 73% decreased likelihood of infection in Kenya/Uganda.


Follow-up trials for medications with previous success will continue.

It's reported that condoms reduce risk of HIV transmission by 78%.

The FDA considers approval of the first OTC At-Home HIV test; may slow the spread of HIV by informing patients privately, sooner and at lower cost.


TRUVADA is a combination of two previous drugs (EMTRIVA and VIREAD) used to treat HIV.

May 10, 2012 - the FDA endorses approval of TRUVADA used to prevent infections in AIDS patients, as a daily pill for HIV prevention in the US.

The FDA voted 19-3 for use with gay men;

19-2 for use with heterosexual couples with one HIV-positive partner;

12-8 for use in individuals engaged in high-risk sexual behavior

How effective is TRUVADA?

Cut risk of infection in healthy gay men and bisexual men by 42% with condoms and counseling.

Cut risk of infection in hetero couples with one HIV-positive partner by 75%.

Lowered HIV infection risk in Botswana by 78% when used with condoms.

Proper usage may be up to 90% effective.

TRUVADA is currently cost prohibitive, but FDA approval could change that. It currently costs $11,000 to $14,000 per year. In developing countries, generics are available for about $9 per month.

More insurance companies would cover the drug if cost was lowered.

It won't be available in the US until patent express in 2021.

Risks of the drug:

Not taking it daily.

Not using condoms concurrently.

HIV-positive patients who take the drug could become resistant.

Some women taking the drug were more likely to become infected than those on placebo.

The impact of HIV/AIDS:

1.2 million Americans have HIV

50,000 new cases in America annually

In the past 30 years 600,000 Americans have died of AIDS

30 million people have died of AIDS worldwide

Lifetime cost of AIDS treatment is $600,000

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