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Drugs May Offer AIDS Prevention

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the here's-hoping dept.


FlipFlopSnowMan writes "There is an interesting article on MSNBC about the possibility of preventing AIDS using the same pills that are currently used to fight the virus in affected individuals." From the article: "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."

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yes (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15009740)

and we all know who is a major investor in Gilead science, yes? Donald Rumsfeld, yes? He wans an army of aids-resitant faggots to rule the world

Ah, man.. (1, Funny)

Renraku (518261) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009746)

Why'd you have to release this story? Now sex workers all over the world will be killing each other to get their hands on these drugs. Eventually their diseases will become super-strains and come back with a vengence!

Re:Ah, man.. (1)

benzapp (464105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009760)

Yeah no kidding. Even if you fuck someoone bareback who definitely has AIDS, the odds of transmission are still only like 1 in 10,000.

Have they really tested this drug on THAT many accidentally exposed healthcare workers? Isn't it possible that perhaps the people exposed just didn't get the disease?

Re:Ah, man.. (5, Insightful)

dario_moreno (263767) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009789)

"odds are 1 in 10000"...rather 1 in 1000, and even more for receptive sex, and if you do it once a day, you get almost a 1 in 2 chance of catching it after 500 days. Check Chad Douglas on google...always on top, positive after 5 years, dead after 15.

Re:Ah, man.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15009912)

Shit- Because I just had my 1001st bareback ass ramming session in the Sauna of the health club. I have flu like symptoms- what does that mean?

Re:Ah, man.. (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010440)

Whew boy....if you can't get laid the day after they announce a cure for AIDS....something must be wrong with you...hahaha.

Hmm...I wonder if the divorce rate will go up and marriage rate down...I mean, I think the aids scare has driven a lot of men into marriage where they hope to have 'regular' sex with a partner...

Since that usually fades....I wonder if a cure for aids will also be a cure for monogamy?

Re:Ah, man.. (2, Interesting)

xnderxnder (626189) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009959)

Yeah no kidding. Even if you fuck someoone bareback who definitely has AIDS, the odds of transmission are still only like 1 in 10,000.

Have they really tested this drug on THAT many accidentally exposed healthcare workers? Isn't it possible that perhaps the people exposed just didn't get the disease?

No, nitwit. "Accidentally exposed healthcare workers" generally means needle pricks and contact with infected blood. Google "post exposure prophylaxis" [] (PEP) to see what's done now. This treatment would certainly help matters, as I understand the PEP treatment is really harsh on your body.

Re:Ah, man.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15009762)

Does this mean I can back door niggas without protection now?

Re:Ah, man.. (0, Flamebait)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009957)

"Now sex workers all over the world will be killing each other to get their hands on these drugs."

As opposed to the usual drugs they're desparate for?

Go for prevention! (2, Insightful)

barefootgenius (926803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010088)

Yes folks! The next time you want to do the wild thing with one of those crazy ladies of the night. Go for prevention. Its simple its easy and its cheap.

1- Navigate to the My Video folder.

2- Click on one of your numerous porn clips.

3- Wank!

See folks. Stopping the spread of AIDS is easy...and its on your hands*.

*-Three sessions of thirty seconds per day recommended. Lubricants, may apply.

Re:Ah, man.. (2, Funny)

Trurl's Machine (651488) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010350)

Why'd you have to release this story? Now sex workers all over the world will be killing each other to get their hands on these drugs.

Yeah, especially since - as we all know - reading slashdot is the favorite pastime of sex workers worldwide.

Drug are just bad mkay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15009748)

I knew drugs were good for you

Cash cow? (5, Insightful)

Tx (96709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009758)

Q. How to make more money from expensive AIDS drugs?

A. Obvious - sell it to people who don't have AIDS as well as people who do.

As I understand, these drugs are very expensive, and personally I can't see any justification for using them prophylactically.

Re:Cash cow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15009781)

Donald Rumsfelds latest moneytrick?
Google for Rumsfeld combined with Aspartame, Tamiflu, ..

Re:Cash cow? (4, Insightful)

Saulo Achkar (843453) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009829)

...personally I can't see any justification for using them prophylactically. Get AIDS and you will find a justification....

Re:Cash cow? (1)

aclarke (307017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009890)

While I'm not fan of pharmaceuticals in general, the fact that you're making this comment suggests to me that you're not in a high-risk group. I didn't RTFA, but even the summary gives a couple ways this type of drug is already being used before a person contracts HIV.

If, for example, you worked with HIV-positive people you couldn't trust or were sexually active within a high-risk group you might have a different opinion. I don't condone visiting prostitutes, but I can see that HIV/AIDS infections amongst prostitutes were lower, the virus would spread less quickly. Using antiretroviral drugs as a prophylactic might help in this situation and in the end it's hard to argue with saving people's lives.

Re:Cash cow? (1)

gutnor (872759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010596)

For people working with HIVpositive people on a regular basis, it makes sense.

But with the fear factor and efficient commercials:

  . Take your pills before you trip to thailand/africa, don't take risks

  . Wifes/Husbands cheat on their partner? HIV-Positive people loose their job and friends? Don't take risk, take a pill.

  . A lot of teens have unsafe sexual relationship don't take risk, ...

Re:Cash cow? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15009900)

Um, how about not use them and then get AIDS? As a gay man, the cost of these drugs would be justified. You obviously have never had an HIV scare; it's NOT fun.

Re:Cash cow? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009930)

Well, I think what they might be usefull for is in many of the African countries where AIDS rates are extremely high, and the drugs would be sold at cost. Provide the drugs for free to prostitutes and you'll lower the rate the disease spreads at. It probbably even works for preventing disease transmission for someone who has AIDS, since it sounds like it lowers the HIV virus load.

I would agree that no one is going to buy these drugs at the retail rate of several hundred dollars/month as a prohylactic though.

Re:Cash cow? (1)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009934)

If you are like me and are married (or in a monogomous relationship) and don't use IV drugs, then you likely don't need these meds. If you are a gay man who has unprotected sex, or are an IV drug user, then these drugs are a good idea. (Yes- I understand that getting someone who doesn't care about themselves enough to not shoot up with needles, to take a prophylactic drug may not be likely).

Re:Cash cow? (3, Insightful)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010032)

If you are a gay man who has unprotected sex, or are an IV drug user, then these drugs are a good idea.

i hope you are only using these as an example, because straight people can get AIDS too ya know, and not just from going to see a prostitute.

of course if someone is having sex with so many different people they fear that they need such a drug, well maybe instead they should think about changing their lifestyle, they might actually be happier

All about the odds (2, Interesting)

alexhmit01 (104757) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010321)

Look, it was a big deal a few years ago when straight people hit the 50% make of HIV infections in the US, hit as high in the upper 50s, and then saw a rise in the gay community. Some speculated that while the 50% mark made it easier to sell AIDS as a problem for everyone, not just the gay community, it also caused the gay community to take their eye off the ball.

Regardless, say 50% of the AIDS cases are in the male gay community. The male gay community is between 1.5% and 3.5% of the US population. That means that 2.5% of the population is responsible for 50% of the cases, and 97.5% is responsible for the other 50%.

AIDS remains a GAY problem, because you are 40x more likely to contract AIDS in the gay community. A single, moderate income gay man in an urban area may be more than happy to spend $1,000/mo. from his disposable income to engage in this behavior. In urban areas, the heterosexual community is rarely focused on future financial planning and preparing for children, I can't imagine that the gay community is MORE focused away from hedonism then their straight neighbors.

That said, can you get AIDS from heterosexual sex? Of course, but not likely. The transmission rate from a man to a woman via vaginal sex is a fraction of the rate from anal sex... less than half. And the transmission rate from a woman to a man via vaginal sex is EXTREMELY low.

What does this mean? A man having sex on occaision with a prostitute is mathematically unlikely to catch HIV, but if he does, it is more likely that he passes it to his wife than it was that he got it. However, that same prostitute has a decent chance of getting HIV if a few of her customers have it.

In addition, a man having sex with a prostitute no doubt will add 1-3 additional sexual partners. A woman working as a prostitute will have from 2-12 partners/DAY.

The fact is, there are areas where the return from the drugs may play a benefit to society. Keeping prostitutes from getting HIV could have a HUGE impact on the culture at large. While a VERY small percentage of men go to prostitutes, if you figure that each prostitute has sex with 25 men/week (a low figure) and a 4% transmission rate, then each HIV-postiive prostitute infects one straight male each week. If half of those men are married or otherwise having sex with a partner regularly, then they WILL infect their wife/partner over time, as the transmission rate is around 20%-30%.

So an HIV positive prostitute will cause 1.5 additional infections per week, MINIMUM, assuming that the client and their spouse/partner DOESN'T commit any additional infidelities.

At under $1000/mo./prositute, I bet it is a positive return to give the drug away. When an infected Prostitute causes 75 infections, even if we assume that each case only bleeds the government for $10k (the rest borne by private insurance), avoiding an infected prostitute saves you 750,000/year. At less than $12,000/year for the prevention, if we assume that 1/60 prostitutes is invected, then we spend less than $720,000 to save $750,000 in treatment.... Each saved life is a bonus!

My point is, normal single straight person that has 1-4 partners a year probably won't cough up $1k/month to reduce their already low risk. Extremely sexually active gay male with 4+ partners a month probably will. Gay man in monogamous relationship or in a normal dating patter, 1-3 partners/year probably will. Woman working as a prostitute SHOULD do so, but can't afford it, but might be targetted by a government that wants to stop the spread.

There are people that will cough up the money, or at least should, and areas where society would benefit from doing so, but no, the general population need not be on permenant AIDS treatment.

Re:Cash cow? (1)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010593)

I am not saying that at all- Think of an actuarial table for life insurance. I am saying that if you are in a group that has a high chance of AIDS- that this drug makes sense. It is the same reason that I when traveling to other certain countries (I am American), there are certain immunizations that I had to get.
I am married- Is there a possibility that my wife will cheat on me, and the person she cheats with will have aids, and she will get it, and I will get it? Yes. Is that a large possibility? No. Is it a big enough possibility that I would take this drug? No. The same reason I don't have flood insurance. I live on high ground in Northeast Ohio. There is a remote chance I could get flooded- but not big enough to pay for flood insurance.
Also- to only divide the AIDS risk categories into gay and straight, is folly. Just looking at demographics, and ignoring behavior (you can be in a high risk demo and have zero chance of contracting AIDS, by behavior) I believe you miss some things. There are certain races that have higher AIDS cases among straight people. There are ceratin education levels , certain geographic areas etc that have higher AIDS cases amongst straight people etc etc etc etc....
And don't forget the fact that it is "bisexual" men who are pumping AIDS into the straight population....

Err... (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009983)

How about in regions where AIDS is an everyday reality? There are places in Africa where it's over 70% infection. In such situations, AIDS preventing drugs would be justified. It's just a matter of affording the $1000/month price tag...

Re:Err... (1)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010548)

Most people in Africa are misdiagnosed with AIDS.

Re:Cash cow? (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010090)

A. Obvious - sell it to people who don't have AIDS as well as people who do.

IMHO, that's not how the drug industry operates.

Their modus operandi is as follows.
Don't research cures for disease.
Instead invent a drug which helps manage the disease - you
have a customer for life.

Re:Cash cow? (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010163)


You made that word up didn't you? Come on, admit it :D

I agree, the drugs are way too expensive to take them on a regular, pre-emptive basis. If the prices came down sure.....but then, taking a pill for the rest of your life just in case? That is something most people are not willing to do. They need to come up with some kind of vaccination that you have to take once every year, ten years, or just once. But yes, this is better the nothing....and the prices will come down when they sell more. The drugs are expensive because the first pill took millions and millions to they drugs sell more the prices come down.

Re:Cash cow? (1)

venicebeach (702856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010608)

The implication that the motivation here is to sell more drugs is ludicrous. Not that someone isn't going to get rich, but RTFA:

They gave a group of six monkeys who were taking these drugs a shot of AIDS up the butt every week for 14 weeks and none of them got the disease. In a group of monkeys who didn't get the drug, all but one did contract the disease. That's pretty damned good. Four months later, still no AIDS in the monkeys who got the drug.

If I were in a high risk population I would take these drugs.

Amen... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15009765) seamen!

How it works: from Wikipedia (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15009771)

Male homosexuals insert enough of these pills in ther anus so that no penis of any size can penetrate. This in turn prevents transmission of AIDS-infected semen.

Many people don't realize that AIDS really is funny, despite what people may have told you. Unless you're a junkie or a faggot AIDS is not your problem.

Same hype as with Tamiflu? (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009786)

Tamiflu is an overhyped, not really effective anti-flu drug. Not more. It would be a bomb in the budget of Roche if we didn't "suddenly" (read: 3 years after it was first detected) get "washed over" (read: Every couple of days we find a dead bird somewhere on the planet) by the "epidemic" (read: Umm... yeah, somewhere in the Far East a handful of people died who pretty much washed their hands in infected bird blood).

Now everyone's crazy to get their hands on Tamiflu. Is it me or does it smell like a well placed marketing hype that the media picked up all too eagerly, since there's nothing else going on that would make people buy their news?

Re:Same hype as with Tamiflu? (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009945)

yeah, somewhere in the Far East a handful of people died who pretty much washed their hands in infected bird blood

Incorrect - nearly all of them cleaned up after live or dead birds. The flu virus in birds is secreted out in bird urine/feces and infects by getting back into the respiratory pathways soon after that (both in birds and humans). Birds pecking in "dung" get infected from other birds. People who are cleaning after them (and you have to clean a henhouse quite regularly) get infected as well.

This is also the reason why the infection is most common in chickens and waterfowl as they feed where they drop.

Re:Same hype as with Tamiflu? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010007)

And? Anyone here doing heavy farm work?


Then where's the craze?

My guess is that people go apeshit about it because we all know the "normal" flu, we all have it from time to time, so it's something we relate to something "common", something as ordinary as a common cold.

If it was called a "bird disease" or even "bird killer virus", nobody would bother to listen.

Re:Same hype as with Tamiflu? (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010224)

The "And" is that you are least likely to be infected even if you handle infected blood and meat. Now, dung from infected birds is a completely different matter.

Time for the.... (0, Redundant)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009790)

Time for Slashdot's quarterly "AIDs might be cured" story.

Re:Time for the.... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009802)

Hush! Not due 'til next week, don't get the timetable messed up. Besides, today we already had the "connect brain to computer" story, how many evergreens do you want per day, can't burn them all at once! :)

Re:Time for the.... (3, Funny)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009970)

I don't get it, personally. How many Slashdotters are actually at risk? The only way I could see someone around here getting it is from a blood transfusion.

Re:Time for the.... (1)

DRM_is_Stupid (954094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010289)

Yes, that seems about right, since last week we already had fusion power and artificial gravity.

Resistance (1)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009791)

Wouldn't this speed up the development of virus strains resistant to those medicines?

Re:Resistance (2, Insightful)

Andrzej Sawicki (921100) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009835)

Perhaps that is the point. Got to keep the business going, no? (Too bad this is only partially a joke.)

Re:Resistance (1)

MS_Word (877966) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009869)

Curing Aids would lose them money on Aids drugs but imagine the publicity!

"Do you have a headache? From the people who brought you the cure for Aids comes anti-ache!"

Re:Resistance (0, Offtopic)

Andrzej Sawicki (921100) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009964)

It is no vaccine, nor a one-time treatment, so ou can hardly call it curing.

Re:Resistance (1)

tinkertim (918832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009995)

You can't look at AIDS like a picture on a wanted poster, there are simply too many mutations.

You may take this drug, and be able to counter act some strains of the pathogen however if you contract someone else's weakened (but not yet dead) strain, your body could become an incubator for a new strain that tolerates this medication and find yourself infected.

What nobody has mentioned or pointed out, you would have to take these pills for the rest of your life in order for them to be effective. AIDS sleeps more than a NOC engineer, especially in a weakened state.

I'd recommend the condom approach to prevention. If you are broke, try some saran wrap, duck tape and 3-in-1 oil.

I think this is going to turn out to be the 'edlin' of AIDS prevention. Absolutely useless.

Ummm... (4, Insightful)

spaztik (917859) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009793)

This is all well and good but...
In the United States, wholesale costs are $417 for a month of tenofovir and $650 for Truvada.
Who is going to be able to afford this stuff?

Re:Ummm... (1)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009821)

I can! And I even have enough left to buy a candy bar...

Re:Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15009849)

In the United States, wholesale costs are $417 for a month of tenofovir and $650 for Truvada.
Who is going to be able to afford this stuff?
Well, if you have sex so often that buying condoms would be more expensive. At $1 a condom, that would be about 14 times a day. Obviously not for slashdotters

Re:Ummm... (1)

enjar (249223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010051)

Anyone who can afford to make payments on a $20K automobile could probably afford it .... at least the tenofovir. And these days, 20K is pretty much where the "family sedan" starts, I don't even think you have hit too far into "minivan" territory. And certainly it's "small SUV".

Just think of all the health benefits you get from walking/cycling because you don't have a car, but have to take your meds :)

Re:Ummm... (2, Informative)

scrub76 (637816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010122)

The answer is, 'right now, not many'. But, and this is a huge but, generic drug manufacturers in places like India and Brazil have shown they can drive down the cost of 1st world med production time and time again. When generic HIV drugs were introduced in India in 2000, the cost was $778 per month. Now the drugs cost about $30 per month. If this approach works, there will be ways to reduce the cost and make it feasible for the populations that need it.

Canadians (1)

Fhqwhgadss (905393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010146)

Those are US wholesale costs. Since manufactureing costs 57 cents a pill for tenofovir and 87 cents for Truvada I doubt you'll see prices like $650/month outside of the United States. Isn't it great to live in the best country in the world that treats the health of its citizens as a top priority? USA, USA, USA.

Re:Canadians (2, Insightful)

SSCGWLB (956147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010420)

Somebody has to pay for the R&D on all those drugs the rest of the world takes for granted/steals. Those companies spend billions developing, testing, and getting FDA approval on a single drug. Then, after that, they have to bear the legal liability if there are unintended side effects (Vioxx anybody?). I don't even begrudge them making money, that's why these corporations exist (gasp!). Personally, I am glad I live in the best country in the world that has the innovation and R&D infrastructure to develop a drug like this. That way, if I get sick, they may have developed a drug to cure me!

Thanks for playing,

New technique is MUCH cheaper... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010246)

Abstain from behavior that could lead to the birth of a child until you've created an environment suitable to raise a child in (healthy marriage, at least 1 wage-earner in the household). Then, don't cheat on your spouse.

Of course this method will only eliminate the sexual transmission of AIDS, but it's a BIG start and it's affordable for everyone.

Another technique to slow the spread of AIDS is for the more hedonistic members of our male population to curb their desire to have poop and partially-digested food on their dicks. It's a well-known fact that the wall of the rectum is paper thin so as to allow the efficient removal of waste from the body. Therefore it tears much easier than the thick muscular tissue of the vagina.

Re:Ummm... (1)

crates (964196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010591)

In the United States, wholesale costs are $417 for a month of tenofovir and $650 for Truvada. Who is going to be able to afford this stuff?
Tucker Max [] , for one.

" Drugs May Offer AIDS Prevention" (1)

AgentPhunk (571249) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009796)

But Nancy Reagan told me to just say no to drugs! Oh the conundrum!

Re:" Drugs May Offer AIDS Prevention" (1)

hahiss (696716) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009993)

Oh, you misunderstood. These are MEDICINES, not drugs!

Silly rabbit.

Vaccine (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009800)

We would all be better off if there was simply a vaccine for viral diseases, instead of drugs which have been proven to stimulate the evolution of resistant strains. Vaccines on the other hand have been proven to not only reduce the incidence of disease, but also virtually completely eradicate them, e.g. smallpox. Vaccines have the advantage of being able to adapt along with the evolving virus. Drugs do not.

Re:Vaccine (4, Funny)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009894)

Brilliant! We'll just make vaccines! Why has no one thought of this before? I guess it's just one of those things that seems obvious in hindsight.

Re:Vaccine (2, Interesting)

MirrororriM (801308) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010320)

We would all be better off if there was simply a vaccine for viral diseases, instead of drugs which have been proven to stimulate the evolution of resistant strains. Vaccines on the other hand have been proven to not only reduce the incidence of disease, but also virtually completely eradicate them, e.g. smallpox.

Easy - because there's no money in the cure. They want your repeat business to feed their cash cow. How are they going to do that with a one-time cure?

Save the melodramatic crap (5, Informative)

Fhqwhgadss (905393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009807)

What's with the qoute at the end: This is very promising. For us to be involved in a potential solution to the big HIV crisis and pandemic is very exciting.

Pandemic? Really? Tuberculosis affects far more people worldwide but doesn't have all the sensationalism that we see surrounding AIDS. I don't mean to imply that nothing is being done about TB, or that AIDS isn't a problem, but I'm tired of the media treating this disease like we're all living on the set of "Rent"

My father..AIDS! My sister...AIDS!
My uncle and my cousin and her best friend AIDS.
Gays, straights, whites and spades,
everyone has AIDS.
My grandma and my old dog Blue.
The Pope has got it and so do you.
Come on everybody we've got quiltin' to do.
Gonna break down these barricades everyone has AIDS,

Re:Save the melodramatic crap (1)

beheaderaswp (549877) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009854)

Not to take away from people who suffer with TB. But I think there's a large social issue here.

Whether it's talked about openly or not, a disease that curtails a persons sex life gets a lot of press because it forces people to modify their behavior- which is basically against human nature (statistics tend to prove this out- people like sex, seek it out, and are generally not monogamous). We are all interested in sex.

So the idea of a drug that could make AIDS preventable is of great interest to everyone. And while conservatives may be more successful at the monogamy game than others, I would think that they would be happy a prophylactic drug is avalable for those that do not live in that manner.

Research like this is a good thing for everyone. And the knowledge gained will also be hugely helpful with other viral diseases.

This is a win for everyone on the planet even if the results are shown through further research to be marginally less positive than reported.

Re:Save the melodramatic crap (3, Informative)

will_die (586523) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009981)

(statistics tend to prove this out- people like sex, seek it out, and are generally not monogamous)

Which surveys?
If anything surveys tend show that people are primarily mongamous and are happy in a with a relationship with a single person.
Look at something like the 1954 [] from late 2005. The survey was done online so you would expect that it to be a little high on the anything goes side.
Even there you get over 70% of the people in a monogamous relationship, the majority for over 5 years.
While they may seek it out people don't tend to pay, less then 15%. This number is about the same for various other surveys.
If you get thoses types of numbers in an survey where people had to activly seek out the survey the numbers are going to be a lot less if you did a truly random survey of the population.

Re:Save the melodramatic crap (2, Informative)

beheaderaswp (549877) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010054)

Did you even READ the article?? "Just 39 percent of people who took the survey always ask whether a new partner is infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, or other STDs. Nearly one-third said they never check on a prospective partner's sexual health status, and among those with less than a high school education, almost 50 percent never discuss the issue of STDs with a new partner -- troubling statistics given the deadliness of AIDS and rising rates of genital herpes and other diseases." This alone indicates the amount of risk people are willing to take is high!

Re:Save the melodramatic crap (2, Funny)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010452)

This alone indicates the amount of risk people are willing to take is high!

Or it means people don't ask stupid questions. If someone knows they have HIV and are still going to have sex with you, they're not going to go, "Oh, yeah, I have AIDS. I just didn't think you'd care."

"Wait, you didn't WANT herpes? Dude, I'm sorry, I didn't know. Totally my bad."

Re:Save the melodramatic crap (1)

Colonel Angus (752172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010253)

And while conservatives may be more successful at the monogamy game than others

I think that's pretty much an assumption and I'm curious if you can link to anything to verify that?

I do know (or at least am quite sure) that I have seen some stats saying that divorce rates are higher in red states than in blue. Not that I'm saying it's all because of cheating... just saying that there have been stats taken about things like this and if you have anything to back up the quoted sentence I would be interested in seeing it. Thanks.

easy answer to that (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010604)

Divorce stats are low if people just shack up instead of getting married. In some places, people just don't bother to get married. That does NOT mean they abstain.

Re:Save the melodramatic crap (3, Interesting)

Fhqwhgadss (905393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010297)

But I think there's a large social issue here.

You hit the nail right on the head. In the United States at least, AIDS is far more of a social problem than a medical problem. The fact that it firt appeared in the gay male community has had an enormous impact on the way that the disease is perceived.

For society that was founded on puitanical grounds, AIDS has been a godsend (pun intended). The evangelicals had a way to immediately lash out against homosexuality as the cause of all of our problems. When the disease migrated to the straight population, we were inundated with the I-got-AIDS-on-my-first-time stories and told to save ourselves for marriage. Fear, whether of AIDS or the lake of fire, is the puritan's greatest weapon.

Then there's the fact that a large portion of our entertainment industry is gay. With the deaths of Rock Hudson and Liberace on thier minds, entertainers became more open and it gradually became more acceptable to homosexuals to "come out." The most significant positive side-effect of AIDS has been the acceptance of homosexuality as at least real, if not acceptable, to American society in general.

The somewhat ironic thing is that without the wanton promiscuity that came about as a backlash against Amirican puritanism, AIDS would not be nearly as widespread as it is today. If it were acceptable to have sex with more than one person on a regular basis, but within a group of mutually respected, trusted, and loved individuals, containment of the disease would be far easier. As it is we live on two extermes: one of excess and one of fear, and the two ideologies feed each other.

AIDS in the US if far more of a social construct than a medical one. There are very few places outside of sub-Saharan Africa that have a greater than 2% infection rate, and even so a great majority of those 2% are in well-defined high-risk groups. Yes, prevention is needed. Yes, research into medical treatment is needed. But can we stop calling it a pandemic already? Sensationalism does not serve the public interest.

Re:Save the melodramatic crap (1)

ToxikFetus (925966) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010587)

There are very few places outside of sub-Saharan Africa that have a greater than 2% infection rate

Actually, Washington DC [] has greater than 2% infection rate. 1 in 50 are living with full-blown AIDS, and the city doesn't even know how many have HIV. I don't know at what point the label "pandemic" becomes meaningful, but when a disease can be carried and transmitted for 15+ years, 2+% of a population provides a lot of hosts.

In related news (1)

codeviking (685537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009809)

Abstinence may also offer AIDS prevention (or at least greatly reduce one's chances of being infected). This method, however, doesn't make drug companies any money.

Abstinence huh? (0, Redundant)

friendswelcome (894576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010067)

Well this is slashdot ;)

Re:In related news (1)

Colonel Angus (752172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010306)

The babies who are being raped in Africa [] should be told this immediately.

There's a lot more to AIDS than promiscuous first-worlders.

Re:In related news (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010495)

I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Terrific Idea (3, Insightful)

scrub76 (637816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009812)

The evidence that AIDS drugs can prevent infections comes not only from exposed health care workers, but also monkey studies. If monkeys are given AIDS drugs up to 48 hours before exposure to SIV (the causitive agent of simian AIDS), they fail to become infected. That has been known since the late 90s. There is some data suggesting that the drugs can't always protect against multiple exposures to SIV, but those studies used only one drug at a time (not a cocktail of pills, like you would take if you had HIV).

As an HIV researcher myself, I realize that we are not going to have a highly effective, preventative vaccine for HIV any time in the near future. There are no clear 'winners' in the pipeline right now, and even if a vaccine looked effective right now, it would be years (and millions of new infections) before it clears human testing and it broadly available. Issues like viral resistance to the vaccine, incomplete protection from infection, potential side effects, and a false sense of security would plauge any vaccine that is developed -- and these are many of the same issues confronting the use of drugs as HIV preventatives.

One major hurdle to testing these drugs in populations highly affected by HIV is to convince them that this intervention is not a magic bullet. There will be problems, some of which we probably can't predict. There will be breakthrough infections in people taking the drugs. And the long-term health consequences aren't known. So far, these concerns have led to the abandonment of several trials of PrEP (using tenofovir in HIV-, high-risk populations) around the world. Hopefully the new data (using multiple drugs together works better than tenofovir alone) will encourage vulnerable populations that the potential benefits may outweigh the risks.

swallow these drugs... (1)

Jerom (96338) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009817)

before you do your thing with that cheap hooker... :-P


PS real question is: how long before?

Re:swallow these drugs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010670)

Factoring in the cost of the drugs, it will no longer be cheap. :-(

Patents (1)

zaguar (881743) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009840)

Yeah, all this is well and good, but don't forget the 2 P's, Patents and Profits. A company makes products for profit, whether they make clothing or life-saving drugs. If it is not profitable, they will not produce. This is linked with patents. IIRC, there was a major dispute with the big pharma companies a few years back, ended up with a drug taken off the market. And let's not forget the penicillin disputes (Chain, Merck-Sharp-Dome, Florey, Fleming etc.)

Keep pumping that stock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15009845)

we wouldnt want Donald Rumpsfeld to lose out now would we ?
he earns millions [] from all the bird flu hype (even though Tamiflu doesnt work against H5N1), you get to live in fear and keep Gilead in the news

the charts [] say everything you need to know

This is tough to read over and over again (3, Interesting)

Loundry (4143) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009904)

As an AIDS heretic, I find articles like these tiresome to read. There have been many, many such articles about "curing AIDS" which have all proven to be sound and fury signifying nothing. I think the reason for this is because AIDS has become something much larger than a disease. It is a way of life for thousands of scientists, a huge cash cow for drug manufacturers, and a political plank for both gay activists and gay-bashing activists.

If you are open to the idea that the orthodoxy about AIDS might not be correct or might not be scientific, then I suggest you read these two pieces of investigative journalism that came out a couple of months ago. They detail in the most succinct way possible how AIDS came about, and that is *VERY* hard to do because of how immensely complex this subject is. w%20copy.pdf [] %20caused%20AIDS%20if%20not%20HIV.pdf []

If you think that I'm insane, or that I just want to have a whole lot of unprotected sex, or that I'm a conspiracy theorist, then please just ignore this post. It means that you are not open-minded to criticism of your ideas, and the only thing I want to do is give criticism of the HIV-AIDS hypothesis a fair hearing. I believe that there are HUGE problems with the hypothesis and it has led to many people getting fabulously wealthy off of what has turned out to be misdiagnosis. I am aware that this is a serious charge, and I do not take this subject lightly.

All of that is in effort to say, "Don't mod me down. Don't be a jerk. Don't prevent someone who *wants* to hear what I have to say from hearing it." I hope it works.

Re:This is tough to read over and over again (1)

banaanimies (944641) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009985)

Low id slashdotter, I'm sure we can rule the "lot of sex" option out.

Wrong insult (1)

Loundry (4143) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010085)

Low id slashdotter, I'm sure we can rule the "lot of sex" option out.

One would think! As it turns out, I'm a gay man, so I don't have to overcome the female recalcitrance that you straights have to face every time you want to score. Nor do I have to endure any of the "female neurosis" -- you know, the questions you can never answer correctly like "Does this outfit make my butt look big?" and the inordinate amount of time spent "getting ready". It truly is a blessing that my partner will never be offended that I didn't notice his haircut, and I'm reminded of this blessing every time one of my straight friends mentions the communication difficulties that are so very common in male-female partnerships.

Of course, many will choose to see my admission to being gay as prima facie that I find AIDS as an intolerable inconvenience to my psychotic desire for incessant unprotected anal sex enhanced by designer drugs.

It's hard to find people who really wish to discuss tough topics, particularly topics that challenge the things that we hold very dear and very close (such as our faith in the integrity of the practicioners of science and medicine).

Re:Wrong insult (1)

The Snowman (116231) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010271)

Before I moved to IT I worked in the restaurant industry. That place is about as queer as a three dollar bill and I loved every minute of it. I never met a promiscuous gay man, and they never bitched about relationship problems at work like the straight people (myself included) did. They were a pleasure to work with. It's a shame that many people condemn people like you and assume you have AIDS. It's really their loss.

Thank you! (1)

Loundry (4143) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010386)

What kind words for you to write, and I thank you for them. I am also happy to hear that men who are, generally speaking, turned on by the same things that I am turned on by have left a stereotype-improving impression upon you. It would be my hope that other gay men can catch the runoff from those positive stereotypes.

There have been some gay men who have done all gay people a severe disservice by promoting the fast-track, drug-addicted "gay lifestyle" as, well, THE "gay lifestyle". When people talked about "being gay", that's what they were referring to. It was, in fact, a non-stop orgy of the gym, sex, and high-end drugs. This segment of the population still exists and is still just as hedonistic as it ever was, but society is changing and ever-allowing more options to what it means to be a gay man. My partner and I are adoptive parents and live in the conservative suburbs of a Southern city.

Anyway, thanks again. :)

Once again old news (0, Offtopic)

waif69 (322360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009925)

NPR was talking about this one or two weeks ago. I am sure this will be modded as flamebait, but can't the people contributing the stories here, get stories that aren't old. Geez!

But... (2, Informative)

Theatetus (521747) | more than 8 years ago | (#15009936)

... what if one of the various "environmental factors" models is right rather than the "single pathogen" model? IE, retroviruses start multiplying in people whose immune systems are shot already -- it's the symptom; not the cause.

I know we like single-pathogen disease models but frankly those are pretty rare. Especially with autoimmune and immunodeficient disorders, it's not as easy as people think to even define the given disorder in the first place, let alone establish a pathogenic cause. Take lupus: the diagnostic criteria is a list of 11 symptoms of which the patient must present 4. AIDS *was* like that for a long time, now it's defined by presentation of a short list of symptoms and presence of HIV antibodies. But then again, any death in Africa by pneumonia is counted as an AIDS case; antibodies are not even tested for. At any rate, there are numerous [] other [] that stress environmental factors. []

Single pathogens are sexy for epidemiologists. They let you focus funding on a single area and clean up a mess with some drugs (which, btw, makes lots of money for pharmaceudical companies, who fund a lot of the research in the first place). Environmental causes are less sexy. They are hard to identify. They are hard to correct. And correcting them can cost a lot of money to the people funding your research.


srussia (884021) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010174)

AIDS diagnosis as it is practiced today assumes HIV-AIDS causation. In fact, two persons could have the exact set of symptoms, but if only one of them tests positive for HIV antibodies (even ignoring the fact that viral load cannot be determined accurately using current methods), only that person has AIDS.

Conversely, you have two distinct "AIDS" populations in Africa and North America/Europe, with totally different symptom sets and epidemiological characteristics.

Oh goody. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010011)

Now I can get spam offering bootleg copies of yet another drug from "teh ultmate online pahrm hacy"

"Science"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010033)

I do not find this "MSNBC" journal you are talking about in MEDLINE.

Please Slashduh, for the the love of everything holy, shut down your inane "Science" section! Everyone can already read the idiotic coverage by mainstream media on their own, we don't need it repeated here.

O rly? (1)

Jeian (409916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010065)

I hear abstinence is good AIDS prevention as well.

the Concept of Placebos... (1)

konsole1981 (899651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010153)

I believe there was some problem explaining to natives in Africa what it means to be in a double-blind test involving placebos. I don't believe these PREP trials are highly regarded by everyone, see here: =get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020234 [] Just and FYI...

Rumsfeld was on the board of Gilead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010171)

Which, also as the article states, is the maker of Tamiflu. If they can ramp up the fear, they can $Profit$! So whether this is vaporware or not, it is sure to ramp the stock price, so Rummy the Abu Gharib Pron master can retire in comfort.....

Wrong Message... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010195)

Everytime a press release comes along "we MIGHT have a cure for AIDS" I shiver, Theres always some crazy NUT JOB out there with the idea, wow, cool, I have aids, and since they have a cure, i wont wear this rubber or I dont need to tell my partner because they have a cure. I'm sure if its ALMOST THERE, then during my shitty life, ill be cured.
Come back with solid news, as we ALMOST Have a cure for cancer also.

how about the best protection (-1, Troll)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010220)

not fucking have sex. Why do you want to spend thousands on protection? what kind of idiotic statement is that?

are you nuts! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010312)

as an AIDS counsellor, I've worked with many people who are taking these drugs on a daily basis. While they are a brilliant development and have already saved millions of lives, they are EXTREMELY TOXIC; they are totally unsuitable for preventive purposes, apart from being very expensive, they require regular blood tests for specialised medical monitoring (to check your body's responses, get the doses correct, etc), and there are often really grim side effects (such as vomiting, diahoerrea, nausea, fatigue, depression, etc etc); I know many who have chosen to come off the drugs because the quality of their life had got so bad from the side effects that they would rather die with a bit of diginity.

They hammer your immune system; it's like taking poison every day, it's a bit like chemotherapy in ways.. in fact, that's not a bad analogy: why don't we all start on an ongoing course of chemotherapy as a preventive measure against getting cancer?

ps. I'm not an Anonymous Coward, I'm a *Lazy* Anonymous Coward from Ireland

Slashdotters at risk? (0, Redundant)

Jeff Hornby (211519) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010346)


AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease. Which means that ou have to have sex to contract it. So I guess Slashdotters aren't really at risk.

Move along. Nothing to see here...

What to expect. (4, Insightful)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010480)

Expect immediate, heavy resistance from the ultra-right wing, Christian conservative political forces in the US. Experience has shown that if there's a disease that increases the potential negative consequences of having sex, especially those which disproportionately affect women, they will oppose efforts to provide treatment. (Women in heterosexual relationships carry an increased risk of HIV transmission when compared to men, although they have a decreased risk in homosexual relationships. The reasons I leave as an exercise for the reader.)

Case in point: the human papilloma virus, or HPV. Now here's the thing with HPV: it's sexually transmitted, condoms don't protect against it, and doctors believe that it's responsible for seven out of ten cases of cervical cancer later in life. So, if we could develop a vaccine against it, that would be a huge strike against cancer, right?

Well... sure. But ultra right groups like the Family Research Council oppose such a vaccine, even though pharmaceutical companies have already conducted successful clinical trials. Why? Because they want to scare people into not having sex.

If this is the reaction an HPV vaccine (or, for that matter, condoms) gets, how do you think they're going to react to a cure to something which disproportionately affects gay men?

I have an idea! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010541)

Keep your penis out of men's buttocks. That's a good preventative measure...

more importantly.... (-1, Troll)

r00t (33219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010683)

Keep penises out of YOUR buttocks.


Don't shoot heroin. Don't be unfaithful. Don't marry some loser who would make any of these mistakes.

That about does it actually. Other causes (rape, knife fight...) are uncommon in the civilized world.

why would recreational sex people care? (0, Troll)

peter303 (12292) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010545)

If people arent going to take the simple precautions of condom- free in many gay establishments- what makes one think they are going to go throught more elaborate protocol of getting a doctor, getting a prescription, haviong pay money for it, and taking it faithfully for a month. A nurse needle stick YES; careless Joe Gay NO.

Idiotic. (2, Insightful)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010552)

Oh great. All we have to do is have every healthy person in the world spend $20k-$40k per year on drugs that kill their liver and otherwise destroy thier health... for the rest of their lives. What a great solution!

Remember, kids: (1)

Dasch (832632) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010650)

Drugs are good, mkaay?

yeah, baby (0, Troll)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010703)

Groovy. So I can again have promiscuous sex with many anonymous partners without protection, while at the same time experimenting with mind-expanding drugs in a consequence-free environment. It's shagadelic, baby.
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