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HIV Therapy Cuts AIDS Deaths, but Increases Infection Rates

Despite major advances in treatment, AIDS is currently the leading cause of death for black men between the ages of 25 and 44. Experts fear that nearly half of Americans who are HIV positive don’t even know it.

A 2009 poll showed that most Americans think AIDS is no longer a major problem. They are wrong. The rate of AIDS infection continues to rise, with 31% of new infections being heterosexuals. The number of women being diagnosed with HIV is increasing steadily, especially among non-whites. More than 1 million Americans currently live with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), the virus that causes AIDS.

Trend of HIV/AIDS

In 1991, AIDS was the leading cause of death for American men between the ages of 25 and 44. In 1996, AIDS researcher Dr. David Ho was named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year after he pioneered a cocktail of AIDS drugs that was able to cut HIV viral load in AIDS patients to undetectable levels. After its discovery, AIDS deaths decreased by more than 40 percent in the US. In 2006, HIV therapy extended the average lifespan of HIV / AIDS patients by 24 years, at a cost of nearly $ 619,000.

But in 2008, we received the bad news that AIDS in America has been on the rise over the last five years, and is much more widespread than expected. HIV-positive rates are soaring among bisexual and gay men, particularly black men. Although black people make up only 12% of the US population, they represent 45% of modern HIV infections. In 2010, AIDS was the fourteenth cause of death for the general population, but the leading cause of death in black males aged 25 to 44 years.

Most people get the HIV virus by having sex with an HIV positive person, sharing needles with an HIV positive person, or being born or drinking breast milk from an HIV-infected mother. Being HIV positive is not the same as having AIDS. HIV destroys a type of white blood cell that helps your body fight disease, weakens your immune system and ultimately results in AIDS. Without treatment, nearly everyone with HIV will get AIDS. While we now have effective HIV therapy that drastically slows disease progression and allows victims to remain symptom-free for years, we still don’t have a cure.

HIV drugs slow down the propagation of the virus.

The first HIV drugs, reverse transcription inhibitors, are still in use today. The second class, non-nucleoside reverse transcription inhibitors, hit the market in 1996, around the same time as the innovative third class protease inhibitors. They were followed by entry or fusion inhibitors in 2003, and integrase inhibitors in 2007. New HIV drugs are currently under development in existing classes, and new classes are also being studied.

Each class blocks the virus in a different way, so the HIV drug guidelines recommend a combination of three or four HIV drugs. For this reason, many HIV drugs combine two or more HIV drugs into one. For example, the widely prescribed GlaxoSmithKline Trizivir combines Epivar 150 mg with Ziagen 300 mg and Retrovir 300 mg.

It’s estimated that nearly half of Americans who are currently HIV positive don’t know it. “We have to face fear,” said Dr. Kevin Fenton, PhD, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “A lot of men are not tested and retested because they are afraid of what they might learn. Knowing you have HIV is difficult, but not knowing is even worse and can endanger you and your life. other.”

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