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Old 04-01-2006, 06:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Scientists closing in on AIDS Prevention Pill - Good or Bad?

Well it seemed like a really good idea to have an AIDS prevention pill at first, but after some reading on different websites, 2 issues were concerned about the discovery of a prevention pill :

1. There would be less safer sex (or more dangerous sex).
2. Resistance may develope, resulting in a more dangerous virulent strain.

And it's really really expensive.

But I think, all new discoveries are on the average, good stuff. If we wanted this discovery to be good, we can make it so.

Anyway, I was looking around for a short clipping on the story, but was unable to find a website that would give me short "news". So I'll just quote some interesting bits.

From : http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12039614/page/1

Quote:
ATLANTA - Twenty-five years after the first AIDS cases jolted the world, scientists think they soon may have a pill that people could take to keep from getting the virus that causes the global killer.

Two drugs already used to treat HIV infection have shown such promise at preventing it in monkeys that officials last week said they would expand early tests in healthy high-risk men and women around the world.
Quote:
"As much as I want to make the right choices all of the time, that's not the reality of it," he said of practicing safe sex. "If I thought there was a fallback parachute, a preventative, I would definitely want to add that."

Some fear that this could make things worse.

"I've had people make comments to me, 'Aren't you just making the world safer for unsafe sex?'" said Dr. Lynn Paxton, team leader for the project at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Quote:
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.

Taking them daily or weekly before exposure to the virus the time frame isn't known yet may keep it from taking hold, just as taking malaria drugs in advance can prevent that disease when someone is bitten by an infected mosquito, scientists believe.

Monkeys suggest they are right.

Specifically, six macaques were given the drugs and then challenged with a deadly combination of monkey and human AIDS viruses, administered in rectal doses to imitate how the germ spreads in gay men.
Quote:
Monkeys fully protected
Despite 14 weekly blasts of the virus, none of the monkeys became infected. All but one of another group of monkeys that didn't get the drugs did, typically after two exposures.

What happened next, when scientists quit giving the drugs, was equally exciting.

"We wanted to see, was the drug holding the virus down so we didn't detect it," or was it truly preventing infection, said Folks, head of the CDC's HIV research lab. It turned out to be the latter. "We're now four months following the animals with no drug, no virus. They're uninfected and healthy."
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Old 04-01-2006, 07:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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What does "just making the world safer for unsafe sex" mean?

By definition, safe sex is meant to decrease the likelihood of contracting HIV. If we technologically cure HIV (which this research doesn't do, strictly speaking), then what's "unsafe sex"? What's the point of it?

I grant, there are plenty of other STIs, but with the 800-lb Gorilla STI out of the way... In the words of George Carlin: Someday they WILL cure AIDS, and man, if you can't get laid that day, just give it up.
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Old 04-01-2006, 07:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Kind of offensive to suggest that we shouldn't potentially save millions of people if we had the chance.

I wonder what Africans would think of the people who suggest that.
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Old 04-01-2006, 07:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arsenic7
Kind of offensive to suggest that we shouldn't potentially save millions of people if we had the chance.

I wonder what Africans would think of the people who suggest that.
probably the same thing Americans, or Canadians, or Brazilians etc. think about it.
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Old 04-01-2006, 08:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratbastid
What does "just making the world safer for unsafe sex" mean?

By definition, safe sex is meant to decrease the likelihood of contracting HIV. If we technologically cure HIV (which this research doesn't do, strictly speaking), then what's "unsafe sex"? What's the point of it?

I grant, there are plenty of other STIs, but with the 800-lb Gorilla STI out of the way... In the words of George Carlin: Someday they WILL cure AIDS, and man, if you can't get laid that day, just give it up.
It is *safe* in a way

But if resistance developes and a new strain forms, what you would have been *safely* doing all the while would be colletively *dangerous* in the long run.

How do I put it into words, I hope it turns out right
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Old 04-01-2006, 08:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Two drugs already used to treat HIV infection have shown such promise at preventing it in monkeys that officials last week said they would expand early tests in healthy high-risk men and women around the world.
I know it probably shouldn't, but that dents my tinfoil hat. I didn't see in the MSNBC article where the officials were Identified. I hope this doesn't suggest that South Africans are going to become human guinea pigs.
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Old 04-01-2006, 08:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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You have to look at this from long term and short term goals.

Short term it would be good, as it could greatly stop the spread of AIDS.

Long term, it could return people to an 'unsafe' mind set, meaning the next 'AIDS' would have the same effect it had in the early 80's. Currently by protecting yourself against AIDS you are also protecting yourself against other STD's, with that fear gone the at risk population becomes vulnerable again.

Should it be used? Of course, a hypothetical possiblity does not hold more weight then a deadly reality.
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Old 04-01-2006, 08:25 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycho Dad
I know it probably shouldn't, but that dents my tinfoil hat. I didn't see in the MSNBC article where the officials were Identified. I hope this doesn't suggest that South Africans are going to become human guinea pigs.
Of course they are. Thats how you do a study like this ethically.

The best way would be to round up 100 or so people, force 50 to take it and another 50 to not take it and see what happens when they get exposed. This leads to all sorts of issues with 'human rights' and such.

So instead you give it to a population where the people are more likely to get the disease and see if those on it have a lower rate of infection than those that don't. This is far less reliable for a number of reasons, but its that whole 'ethical' thing again.
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Old 04-01-2006, 09:53 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arsenic7
Kind of offensive to suggest that we shouldn't potentially save millions of people if we had the chance.

I wonder what Africans would think of the people who suggest that.
Maybe they will think that the janjaweed and other dominate rulers/gangs of men will be the only ones who will be able to get this drug (they have the guns, they get the aid). They will be able to rape any woman without fear of HIV.

I'm waiting for a one-time (or once a year) shot or pill. But the pharma companies would love this drug's business model. Everybody has to take this pill every day.
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Old 04-01-2006, 10:41 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
The best way would be to round up 100 or so people, force 50 to take it and another 50 to not take it and see what happens when they get exposed. This leads to all sorts of issues with 'human rights' and such.
You republicans always resort to force. ;-)

Typically, medical test subjects are willing to participate and paid for their efforts. This would need to be a fairly longitudinal study, you'd probably need to offer ongoing medical support to the subjects who contract HIV (because you could have spared them but didn't or something), and educate them about not taking risks they wouldn't be taking if they weren't in the study. It could all be done inside the guidelines for medical studies on human subjects.
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Old 04-01-2006, 11:25 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
So instead you give it to a population where the people are more likely to get the disease and see if those on it have a lower rate of infection than those that don't. This is far less reliable for a number of reasons, but its that whole 'ethical' thing again.
This is how you get studies that conclude that circumcision lowers a person's risk of contracting hiv.


I just want to know if there are any other horrible diseases that we decided not to cure because a more aggressive mutated form of the disease might result. Seems like pretty silly argument to me.
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Old 04-01-2006, 12:29 PM   #12 (permalink)
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How could this ever be construed as being "bad". I guess some social Republicans could spin it that way. They already don't want kids to learn about sex in school (because being ignorant of it makes you not do it somehow) yet won't teach them at home and don't want condoms and morning after pills made available because it magically turns you into a slut which makes you vote Democrat. So, I suppose that crowd might fight against it. Wal-Mart won't carry it. It'll be there, but won't be available to people that need it.
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Old 04-01-2006, 01:42 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I thought that all of these drugs had extreme side-effects. If so, this use would only make sense if someone knew (or suspected that it was extremely likely) that they were going to be exposed.
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Old 04-01-2006, 03:44 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Well I think we need a cure first, then a prevention method second, but I'll take what we can get. I think a majority of people practice safe sex to avoid pregnancy and not aids, so I dont see a huge spike in unsafe sex as a result in the drug. The whole preventitive nature of the drug suggests that one wouldn't be taking it unless they for some reason thought they'd be at a high risk to get the disease. I dont know about you guys, but if I thought a potential partner had HIV or other diseases weeks ahead of sleeping with them, then I wouldn't sleep with them.
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Old 04-01-2006, 05:22 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratbastid
You republicans always resort to force. ;-)

Typically, medical test subjects are willing to participate and paid for their efforts. This would need to be a fairly longitudinal study, you'd probably need to offer ongoing medical support to the subjects who contract HIV (because you could have spared them but didn't or something), and educate them about not taking risks they wouldn't be taking if they weren't in the study. It could all be done inside the guidelines for medical studies on human subjects.
In this case there wouldn't be any compensation or the like unless the drug caused more aids infections.

This wouldn't need to be done in a double blind kinda way. You would be looking at those who take it the pills vrs those who didn't (everyone else in that risk group) and see if there was a statistically significant change in transmission rates.

I wouldn't call this very 'good' in terms of proving effectiveness but you can get very large sample sizes which help overcome some of its many short comings.

As a side note, in the US we tend to outsource all of our human research to nations with socialized medicine programs since leftist governments are more willing to do things for the 'good of the people' at the expense of the individual

Sweden is the one most commonly used due to their socialized medical system and their very homogeneous gene pool.
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Old 04-01-2006, 06:40 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Anything that reduces disease especially as deadly as this one has got to be good. It is interesting to speculate who will wind up taking it. They say when you have sex with someone you are exposed to disease from everyone they have had sex with as well. I wonder if a great many sexually active people would take it just to be sure even if they practice safe sex. It could be a real money maker for Gilead Sciences Inc. or whoever winds up with it.
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Old 04-01-2006, 07:05 PM   #17 (permalink)
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"Should we cure cancer?" "Nah, it will reduce the effectiveness of our nuclear weapons." "Oh, alright then."

If this drug pans out, then _millions_ of lives will be saved. If a more resistant virus came around (and if I'm correct, HIV doesn't mutate alll that much) then we can treat that, in turn, but it's a big 'if'. Odds are such a version of the virus is around now, but as we have no treatment there's nothing to show it immune to.
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Old 04-02-2006, 01:56 AM   #18 (permalink)
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While Hepatitis and HPV are still on the "no cure" STD list, HIV is just another stepping stone- and that's if the vaccine works well enough.

And yeah, the risk of AIDS adapting and mutating is a scary thought. This is partly because all current AIDS therapies work about the same way... and if the virus adapts, it would likely render them all useless. That would put us back at square one, with everyone dying with no therapy to prolong life.

...not to mention the fact that a mutating virus can end up different in any number of dangerous ways. It could kill more efficiently, it could spread more easily- either by a smaller amount needed to transmit it in the blood, or the ability to live outside the human body longer. Those factors alone would greatly increase infection rate.

I'm not saying the vaccine isn't a good idea, but there are some times when miracle cures or inventions' risks outweigh their benefits. Let's hope the benefits continue to win.
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Old 04-02-2006, 02:48 AM   #19 (permalink)
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It's hardly a vaccine.

It's more of a barrier-building thingy using chemicals. Correct me if I'm wrong though
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Old 04-02-2006, 03:04 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itch vaccine
It's hardly a vaccine.

It's more of a barrier-building thingy using chemicals. Correct me if I'm wrong though
I think that is right. In this case, does being protected yourself still protect your partner? In other words, can you still carry HIV without being adversely affected by it while taking these drugs?
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:20 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Yeap, these are very much anti-retrovirals which stop HIV from developing into AIDS and have shown results that are very promising.

So yes, you can still carry HIV, and you may very well infect someone who doesn't take the drug before sex.

So... yeah, right on the point highthief
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Old 04-05-2006, 03:59 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itch vaccine
Yeap, these are very much anti-retrovirals which stop HIV from developing into AIDS and have shown results that are very promising.

So yes, you can still carry HIV, and you may very well infect someone who doesn't take the drug before sex.

So... yeah, right on the point highthief

That being the case, then this is hardly a panacea. It obviously has its applications, but there may be significant pitfalls too, as others have noted.
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Old 04-09-2006, 10:48 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Specifically, six macaques were given the drugs and then challenged with a deadly combination of monkey and human AIDS viruses, administered in rectal doses to imitate how the germ spreads in gay men.
but I must ask... why didn't they just find some gay monkeys? It would have saved the researchers some monkey ass-dosing.
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