News / Health

At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Preventioni
X
July 24, 2014 4:09 PM
Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Anita Powell

Participants in this year’s International AIDS Conference welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly HIV virus – one of the advances that have provoked celebrations as well as debates.

Medical treatment of the virus is big business, generating multibillion-dollar annual revenues.

Dr. Luiz Loures, deputy director of the United Nation’s AIDS agency, UNAIDS, said those advances include better treatment options but also pill-based prevention.

“We now know that treatment, in addition to saving lives, may become a major tool in terms of prevent(ing) the expansion of the AIDS expansion,” he said. Starting early can “play a major role in the journey towards the end of the epidemic.”

Loures was referring to one of the more exciting new advances:  pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.   Pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences makes Truvada, a pill with a success rate of up to 75 percent in preventing HIV transmission, according to a recent study published in the medical journal Lancet.

James Rooney, an official with the California-based company, explained  PrEP’s role in the war against AIDS. “It’s a strategy that uses HIV drugs that are oftentimes used for treatment,” he said, “but in this case, the drugs are actually given to individuals who are at high risk for becoming infected.”

But AIDS activist Gus Cairns said it may be too soon to celebrate.  He suggested many people may not want to take an AIDS drug when they don’t have AIDS and will prefer to stick to condoms.

“PrEP is going to arrive incrementally, very slowly” on the market, Cairns said. “It’s not going to be a sudden revolution, and the chances are still there may be people who simply can’t use it, for whom it’s just not the answer.”

Sub-Saharan African, the world’s hardest-hit region for HIV/AIDS, needs to have a choice about PrEP, said Brian Kanyemba, a researcher with the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation in South Africa. His country has the globe’s highest incidence of HIV, with more than 6 million people infected.

Noting that condom use had significantly decreased in South Africa, Kanyemba called for access to the new drug: “Let it be available. Let the discussion start right now.”

This year’s AIDS conference has featured thousands of hours of programing on every aspect of this mystifying virus, from the science to the social impact.

But the one thing all of these activists want is the one thing scientists say they’re getting closer and closer to: a cure.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Camille from: Brisbane
July 24, 2014 3:52 PM
There will never be a cure as long as pharmaceutical shares depend on antiviral sales. The tech and knowledge is there but the want to cure 35 MILLION "clients" will suppress a cure.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs