Posts Tagged STD testing
Yesterday an FDA advisory panel recommended approval of Truvada for pre-exposure phylaxis (PrEP) of HIV. While many in the HIV and AIDS medical and research community support the move, many others fear that it will reduce the use of condoms, which are critical for HIV prevention. The question is: Will those in high risk categories, those who engage in risky sexual behaviors or use intraveneous drugs, actually adhere to a medical prevention protocol, especially if they are already having difficulty consistently using condoms? While I think it’s possible that there are those in committed relationships with someone who is HIV positive who may be able to tolerate the serious side effects, the majority of those at risk for contracting HIV may not be able to stick with the regimen.
Studies have shown that getting tested and realizing that you are positive reduces the risk you will pass it on. Just the awareness that someone is putting someone else in danger may deter people from risky behavior. But getting tested and the use of a preventive medication requires that people actually care about their role in the spread of HIV. The continued large number of new cases every year, which is approximately 50,000 according to the Centers for Disease Control, and the 21% increase in new cases in young men aged 13-29 is fueled by the 34% increase in cases among young gay and bisexual men. It would be great if this could be another tool in the HIV prevention toolbox that doesn’t make people feel safe skipping the condom. Let’s hope that the right message on this “HIV Prevention Pill” gets out and it helps to stem the tide of new HIV infections and unnecessary disease.
Written by www.labtestingnow.com
Only months after President Barack Obama addressed the nation stressing a stronger focus on HIV prevention and improved treatment, significant progress is continuing to be made by researchers. It looks like the research community is taking his words seriously! A recent study published in Science has found the specific genes that some HIV infected people have that allows their immune systems to maintain low levels of HIV. These individuals, called “Controllers”, never develop AIDS. 1,500 of them volunteered for the study providing valuable information that will eventually lead to treatments for controlling the HIV infection. Small variants in the protein HLA-B alert the immune system that there is an infection. Those who don’t have these controlling genes eventually suffer with AIDS.
HIV infection is still a huge problem in the United States where the number of new cases continues to rise every year despite attempts to halt it’s spread. The primary focus has been on condom use and those infected frequently don’t receive proper treatment. President Obama has laid out a National HIV Strategy to reduce the incidence of the disease, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health disparities. President and Mrs. Obama were tested for HIV while visiting Kenya in 2006 to encourage men and women there to be tested to prevent spreading the disease. This is also a large piece of the US strategy because research shows that people who have received positive results and know that they are HIV positive are less likely to engage in the risky behaviors which spread the infection. Right now, this is the best defense we have but we need to keep pushing the envelope on research and prevention options. If you think that you are at risk and/or engaging in risky behavior, get tested and stop the virus with you!
Written by www.labtestingnow.com