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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid