By Jacob Molyneux, AJN senior editor
There have been a number of recent high-profile news stories as well as some notable new research related to HIV/AIDS and its treatment and prevention.
First, AJN would like to add its voice to those expressing heartfelt regret at the deaths of a number of prominent and widely respected HIV advocates and researchers in the Malaysia Airlines jet that appears to have been shot down over Ukraine last week.
The Truvada controversy. Those who who died on the plane had been heading to an international conference in Melbourne, Australia, where one of the hot topics under discussion would be the pros and cons of the continuing expansion of the use of the antiretroviral drug Truvada beyond the treatment of existing HIV infection to long-term prophylactic use by the uninfected.
The topic is particularly timely here in New York where Governor Cuomo last week announced that New York State would make Truvada a centerpiece of its HIV-prevention strategy. The drug, taken every day, is more than 90% effective in preventing infection, but, as an NPR story recently described, a number of experts have raised concerns about widespread long-term use of Truvada for HIV prevention, noting
- serious potential side effects of Truvada.
- the $1,300/a month cost of the drug.
- the reduction in the use of condoms by some of those taking Truvada, which could lead to higher rates of other sexually transmitted diseases.