Will Truvada Prevent HIV? And is a Vaccine Coming too?

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Will Truvada Prevent HIV? And is a Vaccine Coming too?

Postby Gaybutton » Sat May 12, 2012 12:24 pm

Obviously gay sex places us at a high enough risk that every precaution is worth taking seriously. Now, for the first time there may be an anti-HIV pill that can prevent contracting HIV at all. This time it looks promising and serious. Let's hope so. And if it really works, let's also hope it will be affordable. Even if it actually works perfectly and can guaranty prevention of HIV, I'll still be using safe sex methods. For me, this pill would be in addition to safe sex methods, but not instead of safe sex methods.

I wouldn't start throwing away those condoms just yet (especially since there are still plenty of other STDs out there), but the news is encouraging.
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Anti-HIV pill draws near

Thai experts say Truvada risks cutting condom use

Published: 12/05/2012

The first drug shown to prevent HIV infection has won the endorsement of a panel of US federal advisers, clearing the way for a potentially landmark victory in the 30-year fight against the virus that causes Aids.

A US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel on Thursday recommended approval of the daily pill Truvada for people at risk of contracting HIV, including gay and bisexual men as well as heterosexual couples with a HIV-positive partner.

The US FDA is not required to follow the panel's advice, though it usually does. A final decision is expected by June 15.

California-based Gilead Sciences Inc has marketed Truvada since 2004 as a treatment for people who are infected with the virus. The medication is a combination of two older HIV drugs, Emtriva and Viread. Doctors usually prescribe it as part of a drug cocktail to repress the virus.

The panelists, however, raised a number of concerns created by the first drug to prevent HIV. In particular, the panel debated whether Truvada might lead to reduced use of condoms, the most reliable defence against HIV infection.

Panelists struggled to outline steps that would ensure patients take the pill every day. In clinical trials, patients who did not take their medication diligently were not protected.

Panelists stressed that people should be tested to make sure they do not have HIV before starting therapy with Truvada. Patients who already have the virus and begin taking Truvada could develop a resistance to the drug, making the disease even more difficult to treat.

But Truvada's groundbreaking preventive ability has exposed stark disagreements on prevention among those in the HIV community. While Truvada's supporters say the drug is an important new option, critics worry that the drug could give users a false sense of security, and encourage risky behaviour.


Full story: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/2 ... draws-near
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There may be an HIV Vaccine on the way too:
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Thai research team studies efficacy of HIV vaccine

Pongphon Sarnsamak
The Nation
12/5/2012

A Thai research team is working on two new studies to see how a vaccine can boost people's immunity against HIV.

" These studies will help us determine if a vaccine can strengthen immunity against the virus," Prof Dr Punnee Pitisuttithum, chief of Mahidol University's Vaccine Research Centre, said.

About 500,000 to 600,000 people are living with HIV/Aids in Thailand, and though the situation has improved in terms of treatment, the efficiency of preventative measures has been below expectation and the annual average of 10,000 new patients is higher than projected.

The trials, divided into two, will involve a total of 632 volunteers. The first study, called RV305, will evaluate immunity boosting strategies for noninfected participants.

In 2009, the HIVvaccine efficacy trial, RVI44, tested a combination of two vaccines - ALVAC HIV (prime vaccine) and AIDSVAX B/E (the booster) - on more than 16,000 HIVnegative men and women from Chon Buri and Rayong provinces. The outcome of the trial showed that the combined vaccine lowered the rate of HIV infections by 31.2 per cent, but had no effect on the amount of the virus in the blood.

The results of RV144 trial also showed that the efficacy rate of primeboost vaccine, one year after being administered, was approximately 60 per cent.

A recent discovery suggested that the potential immune correlatesantibody so called V1/V2 region is likely to be protective leading to further studies using similar regimen.

"The previous trial helped us to learn more about the type of antibodies that could improve a human's immunity to fight against HIV. This was why we are conducting two studies to find out more details about the efficacy of the HIV vaccine," Dr Punnee, who is leading the studies, said.

About 167 people, who were part of the previous RV144 trial, will participate in the RV305 trial and receive eight shots of the combined vaccine in one year. The RV305 trial began last month and the result should be ready in two years.

Full story: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/nationa ... 81805.html
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Re: Will Truvada Prevent HIV? And is a Vaccine Coming too?

Postby LKAsians » Sat May 12, 2012 5:52 pm

Well GB. I don't think that Truvada will be affordable anytime soon. Prices ranged from $3610.50 for 90 tablets to "only" $672.00 for 60 pills. Which, if the dose is one a day, would be "only" $11.20 a day...and the minimum wage in Thailand is about $9.00 US per day....so affordable...probably never!!!

There was a "generic" brand that was 180 tablets for $650.00, but that is still nearly $4.00 per pill. Like you said....don't start throwing away those condoms!!!
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Re: Will Truvada Prevent HIV? And is a Vaccine Coming too?

Postby bao-bao » Sat May 12, 2012 9:50 pm

Gaybutton wrote:I wouldn't start throwing away those condoms just yet (especially since there are still plenty of other STDs out there), but the news is encouraging.

It's definitely encouraging news, and perhaps there's actually potential to the new drug as a prophylaxis. If the drug companies would be content to make a profit by volume and not just flat out greed the prices would drop and give more folks protection. Unfortunately, humans being humans there will be plenty who'll forget to take it and still think they're protected from everything from HIV to the common cold.

Nevertheless, it's encouraging, and I'm most pleased to see progress. Until then, using condoms for all sexual contact is the closest one can get to safe(r) sex.
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Re: Will Truvada Prevent HIV? And is a Vaccine Coming too?

Postby Alex » Sun May 13, 2012 8:25 pm

Any progress is good news, obviously, but it doesn't look as if Truvada will be suitable for those mostly in need of it.

You have to take it every day, so it's still a far cry from most common vaccinations where you just get a shot every 1-10 years and that's it. Occasionally skipping the daily pill seems to decrease the level of protection significantly. It's also very expensive, both compared to the cost of condoms and, more surprisingly, to the cost of HIV treatment. I'd also be worried about potential long-term side effects; giving healthy people a daily dose of strong antiviral drugs doesn't really seem like a brilliant idea.

I hope more progress will be made. A real vaccine along the lines of a tetanus or hepatitis a/b shot would be a terrific breakthrough.
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Re: Will Truvada Prevent HIV? And is a Vaccine Coming too?

Postby firecat69 » Mon May 14, 2012 9:29 am

Since most HIV treatments include Truvada , I can't see how it can be more expensive. Your other points however are well taken.
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Re: Will Truvada Prevent HIV? And is a Vaccine Coming too?

Postby Alex » Mon May 14, 2012 12:35 pm

firecat69 wrote:Since most HIV treatments include Truvada , I can't see how it can be more expensive. Your other points however are well taken.


That's a good point. I'm sure it depends on the country and on the licensing scheme. I was referring to the Bangkok Post article linked by GB, where the following was said: "The Aids Healthcare Foundation, which opposes approval of Truvada, estimates that 20 HIV-positive patients could be treated for the cost of treating one patient with preventive Truvada.". I don't know how they came up with this estimate and if it's credible.
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Re: Will Truvada Prevent HIV? And is a Vaccine Coming too?

Postby Gaybutton » Mon May 14, 2012 2:56 pm

I wonder if Thailand will do what they have sometimes done before - breach the patent, manufacture a generic, and sell it cheaply.
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Re: Will Truvada Prevent HIV? And is a Vaccine Coming too?

Postby firecat69 » Mon May 14, 2012 3:25 pm

There are a number of other things mentioned here that are completely untrue. I know this because sometimes I purchase Truvada for a friend in the USA. His medicare cost is similar until he gets to what they call the do not hole and then the drug is quite expensive. So I bring him 4 months worth until a New Year and the cost once again becomes tolerable for him.

First the Original Truvada is available in Thailand . No generics needed. Second some of the costs here have just been ridiculous.. Today I paid 2150 baht per bottle of 30 pills or about 70 baht per pill. This equated to about $2.30 per pill which is way less then some $11 figure mentioned here.

I am sure a Thai can buy it for a lot less through Government programs. After all the Pharmacy was making a nice profit off of me.

Now the prices mentioned in the USA are essentially correct. Big drug companies have been screwing Americans for years and their Lobbyists make sure they can continue to do so. I don't want to hear about research costs etc as in many cases that research was funded by the Government who just happens to be the USA citizens.

None of my comments here are about the efficacy of using Truvada as a preventative . Thats above my pay grade . Just want to clear up what drugs can be available in Thailand and the real cost. Impossible to have a discussion when the basis of ones argument is cost and the costs stated here are so out of whack.
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Re: Will Truvada Prevent HIV? And is a Vaccine Coming too?

Postby rocket » Tue May 15, 2012 2:06 am

Yeah, the drugs are cheaper in Thailand but I don;t think the best drugs are available for that cheap price. They're still using AZT...one of the earliest hiv drugs which has causes lipodystrophy and other harsh side affects.

I would want the one pill a day Atripla,the 'state of the art 'hiv drug by Gilead...but there is no generic for that yet in Thailand. Or is there?

I bounce back and forth on this issue of ownership rights.Without the profit motive,these great drugs would not be available, but at the same time they spend so much money on advertising. Almost all of the ads on nightly news here in U.S are for expensive drugs.Maybe shorten the patent life by half.
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