Is there a Drug that can Prevent HIV Infection?


BY: MARTHA PHILLIPS

Moral dilemma:  Why don’t you read about it and weigh in?

A new study indicates that if healthy people take a certain HIV medication it will keep them from being infected by their HIV positive partners.  The goal is to protect people who are at high risk of getting HIV.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203961204577267813686809798.html?mod=djemalertNEWS
The practice of taking this drug preventively is called PrEP, Pre-exposure Prophylaxis.

Pros:
Reduce the number of new infections of HIV. According the CDC, about 50,000 people become infected with HIV every year.

FDA approval expanding the label to include use as a preventive tool could encourage coverage by health insurance providers as preventive care, mitigating the problem of the high cost of the drugs.

FDA approval could encourage regulators outside the US to embrace PrEP.

Cons:
People may be encouraged to have unprotected sex (this argument could be likened to the argument that contraception will cause more underage sex and sex out of wedlock).

Not following the full drug regimen could lead to drug resistance and increased infection.

The drugs are quite expensive (est $14,340/yr), which may lead to people not taking them properly.

Medical side effects of taking the drug may include kidney damage

Hidden Agenda:  certainly the company that makes the drug, and sponsored the trails, stands to gain if the market for the medicine expands from just those already infected with HIV, to the population of those who are not infected, but are at risk.
Would this be a bad thing if the total new infections decreases?

Let us know what you think.

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