Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

March 28, 2006

Drug Can Potentially Prevent AIDS

The A.P.:

ATLANTA -- Scientists have long believed that a vaccine is the best way to stop the spread of AIDS, but efforts to invent one have miserably flopped.

Now they may have found something already on pharmacy shelves that seems to prevent infection.

[snip]

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.
This is exciting news. If studies prove the drug can prevent infection, it could arrest the further spread of AIDS, especially in third world countries. So far testing has netted encouraging results:

What happened next, when scientists quit giving the drugs, was equally exciting.

"We wanted to see, was the drug holding the virus down so we didn't detect it," or was it truly preventing infection, said Folks, head of the CDC's HIV research lab. It turned out to be the latter. "We're now four months following the animals with no drug, no virus. They're uninfected and healthy."
Currently, condoms and counseling aren't enough. According to the same article, HIV infects 5 million more people every year, at the rate of ten more people every minute.

Though this is a positive step forward in the fight against AIDS, I bet the extreme religious right would try to derail this drug from being prescribed as a preventative medication on moral grounds.

Remember how they tried to obstruct the approval of a cervical cancer vaccine?

For someone who supposedly values life, it's amazing how these groups derail treatment for diseases that if left untreated can cause certain death.

Photo: gileadaccess.org.

posted at 1:10 AM by Wonky Muse

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"Sapere Aude."
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Wonk (noun): def. A political nerd. Know spelled backwards.

Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.


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