More breakthroughs lately in fight against HIV/AIDS

It has been an inspiring season of breakthroughs in the fight to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS. Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration approved the pill Truvada, “a preventive measure for healthy people who are at high risk of acquiring HIV through sexual activity, such as those who have HIV-infected partners,” reports Matthew Perrone for The Associated Press.

Just two weeks ago, the agency also approved the first over-the-counter HIV test that can be used at home. “I think the combination of self-testing and a medicine that you can take at home to prevent infection could mean a whole new approach to HIV prevention that is a bit more realistic,” said Dr. Demetre Daskalakis of New York University‘s Langone Medical Center.

In the meantime, a research team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center is making progress to develop a weekly or twice-monthly injection that would help manage patients with HIV. The long-acting injection “would be a substantive improvement over daily and sometimes more complex regimen of pills,” lead investigator Dr. Howard Gendelman told research-reporting service Newswise.

“We actually followed the process exactly as we would with a person — and it worked,” he said. “This is all very exciting. Although there are clear pitfalls ahead and the medicines are not yet ready for human use, the progress is undeniable.” (Read more)

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