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posted Friday, November 26, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 48

Letters
WHO WILL PAY FOR NEW AIDS MEDICATION?

Dear friends of our community:

Once again, AIDS Day is upon us. Appropriately, news of a new drug has emerged that may cut risk of HIV infections, according to the NIH.

The trade name is Truvada, a combination of two antiviral drugs. Researchers found that men taking the antiviral were 44% less likely to become infected than an equal number taking a placebo. When only the men whose blood tests showed they had taken the pill every day were considered, the pill was more than 90% effective.

The thing is & the drug, made by Gilead Sciences, will purportedly cost $12,000 to $14,000 a year, while in 'poor' countries, the cost is 40 cents a pill! Consequently, as usual, the company can expect huge profits.

This 'progress' is a far cry from the first days when Joe Eisenhauer and I started the Seattle AIDS Support Group and Chicken Soup Brigade, along with Josh Joshua's NWAF, in 1983. Then there was only the harsh drug AZT, which caused more agony along with the virus.

Swedish Hospital used the entire 5th floor and part of the 6th as an AIDS care/hospice, prior to Bailey Boushay House. Doing visitations there in those days was not pleasant.

Some say AIDS has been relegated to the severity of a common cold, but not true. To date, with no actual cure, the virus eventually wins out, however instead of months (like in the '80s), life can now be sustained successfully for years, and that is cause for celebration.

Kindest regards,

Leonard 'Lenny' Larson, Chicken Soup Brigade



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