The HIV pill Truvada was described in many media yesterday as having already changed the landscape for HIV treatment. While it is probably a little presumptive to say that, there is no doubt that after so many attempts at a truly effective, side effects free medicine for AIDS, pharmacists and scientists have at last obtained evidence of success. Furthermore, this is borne out by a large scale test, through US aided research conducted on the very highest risk social groups across several nations.
HIV is primarily spread through unprotected sexual contact— that is, vaginal, anal, or oral sex. The chances of getting or passing HIV from oral sex are lower than vaginal or anal sex, but there is still a risk. It is a virus that gradually attacks immune system cells. As HIV progressively damages these cells, the body becomes more vulnerable to infections, which it will have difficulty in fighting off.
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV weakens the body?s immune system, which is the body?s defense system. HIV is a virus that weakens the body’s immune system or power to fight disease. HIV can pass from one person to another through body fluids like blood, semen, vaginal secretions, or a mother’s breast milk.
It is the most dangerous of all sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) because there is still no cure or vaccine. Previously the new treatments have been developed while worthwhile only slow down the effects of the virus. As a result many people with AIDS are living longer than ever before, but it is still very deadly. Truvada is the first anti-HIV pill to provide effective protection against the disease that affects 33 million people globally.
It is also described as having no worse risk or severity in its side effects than taking the contraceptive pill.
The trial was run using gay men who are at an extremely high risk of HIV. The result quoted is that those who took the oral pill daily, as opposed to the placebo given to the other 50%, cut their risk of contracting the infection by almost 44 per cent.
The most positive comment being given outside the manufacturers was from the Aids Foundation of Chicago, who’s spokesperson said that; “This discovery alters the HTV prevention landscape for ever”. Even Margaret Chan, the Director General of the World Health Organisation, said that the trial opened up “exciting new prospects”. The World Health Organisation (WHO) also commented to the effect that the results were not quite as positive in favour of this new pill, as had been hoped.
In general however, this must be good news for Aids sufferers even if, as is always the case, the pill will not arrive on the pharmacists shelves, at whatever price it will command, for one or two years yet, perhaps longer. Further trials are nevertheless, going ahead.