Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Best HIV studies ever...

In two huge studies happening right now, we have two of the biggest hopes for HIV prevention and treatment.

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

The CDC has begun a massive 3 continent (actually, four, but those are not CDC run) study of the effectiveness of a single pill in blocking the transmission of HIV if taken before risky sex or drug behavior occurs. 

From ABC News:
In a massive medical trial on three continents, doctors are testing a controversial pill that could temporarily boost immunity against HIV before a person is even exposed to the virus. If the pill works safely, doctors must then address whether such a drug, if made widely available, could actually worsen the AIDS epidemic.

The pre-exposure pill undergoing testing seems promising, since HIV drugs taken within days after exposure to the virus have been shown to reduce the risk of infection by 80 percent. But public health officials debate whether people at high risk for the virus, such as men who have sex with men, would be more likely to set aside the use of condoms to instead rely on a drug regimen that doesn't provide full protection against the disease, which is spread by contact with the blood or semen of an infected person.
The other risk, of course, is the possible increase in other STD's -- syphilis, specifically, which has recently seeing a rise in new cases. The other concern are those 25% of people who don't know they have HIV -- who cause between 40-50% of new cases. In all likelihood, those people are not aware of their risk, and neither are their partners, which means they are less likely to take the pill.

And then the question of access of healthcare comes up... if we can't even control teenage pregnancy, how can we control HIV?

Translation: gay men might see drastic reductions in their HIV rates, but guess who's left? Hm. A population currently at risk (with increasing numbers), limited access to healthcare, low conceptions of risk, and high incidence of other indicators of unsafe sex practices (STD's, pregnancy)...

Black women are fucked.


This sounds like a really strange "cure" out of the 1980s, but it's getting a little popular attention.

From the Hindu News:
A new device could open up a new way to treat HIV, hepatitis and cancers by filtering out infectious viruses in real time.

The device, called Hemopurifier, is being tried out for the first time in a 30-day case study on HIV, at the Jattinder Gambhir Hospital in Ludhiana, Punjab.

The goal of the study is to demonstrate that Hemopurifier can safely and effectively reduce viral load and trigger replenishment of CD4 immune cells in the absence of drug therapy.

The fieldwork, which calls for the administration of up to 12 Hemopurifier treatments, is scheduled for completion by Friday.

Hemopurifier targets all circulating strains of infectious HIV, including those varieties that cause patients to fail antiviral drug regimens.
I know, source source source.

But check this out from Popular Science. It's a possibility. And it's exciting, because it can help with more than just HIV.


Montgomery Maxton said...

a fellow blogger just wrote about this. he's a dr in SF. he said it could go disasterously.

Barry Floore said...

Or it could change the world.

Well, that's a little extreme. But let's be hopeful. After all, if we assume that we don't change people's behavior and we are just adding a new bit.. the pill... then maybe we avert some disaster.

But, at the same time, it's like my old NP who used to say that a cure to HIV ... or a vaccine... could be disastrous... because there needs to be something to be scared of.

Wonder Man said...