Taking HIV drugs earlier could curb new infections
May 12th, 2011
03:58 PM ET

Taking HIV drugs earlier could curb new infections

People living with HIV are less likely to pass on the virus to their sexual partners when they immediately receive medication.

An international study that included more than 1,700 couples showed that taking antiretroviral (ARV) drugs immediately, instead of waiting for the immune system to be weakened,  led to a 96.3% reduction in HIV transmission to a sexual partner who does not carry the virus.

“We’ve speculated for a number of years, in theory, that treating an infected individual should reduce infectiousness to others,” said Dr. Sten Vermund, one of the investigators in the study.

“This was a rigorous clinical trial that proved the concept if you put people on ARVs even before they need it for their own health, it might reduce infectiousness to others.”

Instead of thinking of antiretrovirals strictly as a treatment tool, the medication could also be a prevention tool to curb new infections, said Vermund, who is the director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health.

The study suggests that giving antiretrovirals to someone immediately after infection could first benefit the patient with HIV and reduce the spread to others.  The study called HPTN 052, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was scheduled to end in 2015, but the results were released early Thursday because of the clarity of the findings.

"This new finding convincingly demonstrates that treating the infected individual - and doing so sooner rather than later - can have a major impact on reducing HIV transmission,”  Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a news release.

The study followed 1,763 heterosexual couples from 13 cities in Botswana, Brazil, India, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Thailand, the United States and Zimbabwe. The couples were serodiscordant – meaning one person has the HIV, and the other does not have the virus.

CNN: Love in the time of HIV/AIDS

In the study that started April 2005, the HIV-infected partners were randomly assigned to immediately take antiretroviral drugs or to take the drugs when their immunity fell below a certain level or if they experienced an AIDS-related event.

Of the 1,763 couples, 28 new cases of HIV were reported in which their HIV-infected partner was found to be the source of infection. Twenty-seven of the infections were in the group that deferred their antiretroviral therapy.  Only one was found in the group that started taking the medication immediately.

“It makes sense,” said Dr. Alvin Friedman-Kien, dermatologist and virologist at New York University Langone Medical Center, who treats HIV/AIDS patients. “The incidence of infected virus would obviously be lowered if you took the antiretroviral medicine.  But if I were somebody who had a partner who was HIV positive I wouldn’t take that risk. I would make sure they used condoms and protected sex.”

Friedman-Kien was not involved in the study.  He cautioned that even a person on proper antiretroviral therapy could have a few virus particles floating around – and it takes just one virus particle to infect another person.

The concept that a patient should immediately take antiretrovirals after diagnosis has already been proposed by public health officials in San Francisco, California, and Vancouver in Canada.  But, many in America as well as developing countries cannot get access to the medications despite having dire medical needs.

CNN's Elizabeth Landau contributed to this report.

soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. agonyfIips

    Hey, Does anyone else have problems with commenting on regular stories?
    For me it's seems Disqus is not working with CNN anymore.
    Let me know if I've the only one, or if it's a problem with everyone. I've tried 3 browsers, being logged in or not and there's just no commenting anymore.

    May 12, 2011 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • angel

      yea im having the same problem. i cant even see the comments anymore either.

      May 12, 2011 at 16:35 | Report abuse |
    • J. Christensen

      Occasionally, but not regularly. Can't get on today.

      May 12, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse |
    • Nigel Tufnel

      Yes, but are we really missing anything?

      May 12, 2011 at 16:41 | Report abuse |
    • excitizen

      yes, major problems the last couple of days.
      Either there is no option to comment at all or you try to comment and cannot type text in the box.

      May 12, 2011 at 16:41 | Report abuse |
    • Sari in Vegas

      Yeah, same problem over here too.. It seems Sound Off articles are still enabled, but the Disqus ones are entirely unable to be commented on..

      May 12, 2011 at 16:44 | Report abuse |
    • agonyfIips

      Well the commenting went down at about 12 noon EST on CNN.
      I couldn't comment on any new stories, but I had another tab open that was receiving many comments and it just stopped getting new comments when I pressed new at the top of the comments.
      I asked on CNN contacts website technical, if there was a problem but no response yet.

      May 12, 2011 at 16:44 | Report abuse |
    • agonyfIips

      @Nigel Tufnel: The sustain, listen to it.
      Marty DiBergi I don't hear anything.
      Nigel Tufnel: Well you would though, if it were playing.

      May 12, 2011 at 16:55 | Report abuse |
    • dtboco3

      I was. It is working again now.

      May 12, 2011 at 18:43 | Report abuse |
    • Jimbo

      I've had problems for like 3-4 months now.....I think CNN justs hates my comments and is messing with me. I can't even comment on the other formats on other articles, just these lame ones where you don't even know where your comment went, stuck between comments written 2 hours ago.

      May 12, 2011 at 18:51 | Report abuse |
    • sambo

      oh it's working. blog something contraversial. They schnitt their pants and tell you their side

      May 12, 2011 at 19:00 | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Happens to me all the time, especially when my response is not as liberal/leftist as CNN would want me to. I fly to China monthly, their censorship is about as bad as CNN's. After all Ted Turner and Jane Fonda's creation is just another socialist mouthpiece – Censors Of The World – Unite!

      May 12, 2011 at 19:09 | Report abuse |
    • blah

      this is OLD NEWS, what needs to reported on is how drug companies are charging $1500+ for a months worth of these medications.... and research royalties is NOT AN ANSWER.... congress need to make laws to ALLOW for generics and give the original maker royalties from the generics for x years. NOT this insanity of 12+ years of no generics allowed to make max $$$ off this

      May 12, 2011 at 19:40 | Report abuse |
    • Welcome to Reality

      It isn't you. I often don't even see the comments section anymore. It's really hard to go through the comments and read replies to your personal comments, for one. And it's sporadic as to when you can see the comments section. I think we are all having this problem.

      May 12, 2011 at 19:43 | Report abuse |
    • artistchd

      "But, does HIV cause AIDS? Absolutely no! No virus causes disease. All of us live with pathogenic viruses in our bodies every day of our lives. If viruses were the cause of disease, we would all be dead. Under normal conditions, we live in harmony with the microbes in our environment. Infection occurs when we upset the natural balance between us and the microbes. Infections are not the cause of disease, they are the effects of disease. Infection occurs when cells malfunction and immune competence is compromised. "

      May 13, 2011 at 00:07 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      as long as you say something liberal.. it works ok...

      May 13, 2011 at 01:15 | Report abuse |
    • Steventxsa

      Same here..

      FYI ~ Al Jazeera reported on this two days ago.. "Experimental AIDS vaccine 'works in monkeys'
      Doctors hope to test humans with vaccine that helped monkeys with form of AIDS virus control infection, within 3 years." – Al Jazeera..

      Come on CNN.. You're better than this, report quicker!

      May 13, 2011 at 02:18 | Report abuse |
    • William s. Lovecraft

      You can't even comment on news topics, what is this Libya?

      May 13, 2011 at 03:37 | Report abuse |
    • Liu

      me too, I can not leave comment to a lot of popular toptics

      May 13, 2011 at 03:48 | Report abuse |
    • v

      CNN's website is the ONLY site that gives my browsers trouble. I wonder what they are up to?

      May 13, 2011 at 08:00 | Report abuse |
    • mpouxesas

      maybe they should just instead have impeded a chat client to eliminate these problems to posting on the board altogether...just saying...

      May 13, 2011 at 08:25 | Report abuse |
    • siwa332

      I don't know what "disqus" is but, yes, I have had problems replying on some stories.

      May 13, 2011 at 08:44 | Report abuse |
  2. J. Christensen

    It's remarkable that in little more than 30 years we can have gone from not even knowing the pathogen responsible to being able to effectively suppress it. It is wonderful to consider what we can do with cooperative effort.

    May 12, 2011 at 16:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • The Gays

      30 years is a long time when you're HIV+
      All HIV meds are merely band aids until cure is discovered.

      May 12, 2011 at 17:37 | Report abuse |
    • Denizen Kate

      @TheGays, a good bandaid is better than nothing.

      May 12, 2011 at 18:04 | Report abuse |
    • iamthefredman

      Say the same thing for the Multiple Sclerosis I have. My older cousin died from MS in 1997. There were NO drugs for it then. About 1998-99 suddenly 3 drugs came on the market that were quite good. Now there are 6 or 7 excellent drugs and several more coming in the next year or two that will squash MS down to what these ARV drugs do for HIV. Now it is rare someone dies from MS complications. People who are still dying from it are the ones who did not have the benefit of ealry good medicines in teh 1980s-90s. Some people don't believe in God. I believe that God is to one who gave these medical researchers and doctors their brains to figure this stuff out. God bless them !!

      May 12, 2011 at 18:29 | Report abuse |
    • dustl

      If God is the one responsible for these medical advancements, then God also killed your cousin.

      May 12, 2011 at 22:27 | Report abuse |
    • tb2

      @iamthefredman, do you also believe that god gave you ms?

      May 12, 2011 at 22:32 | Report abuse |
    • artistchd

      "The mission of the Alberta Reappraising AIDS Society is to promote critical discussion of the HIV=AIDS=Death dogma by making basic science available and by publishing the writings of other critics of the theory for a wide audience. The society is always interested in hearing from people who would like to help through volunteering their time, offering their writing or research skills or who wish to donate money to support and expand the work of the society."

      May 13, 2011 at 00:14 | Report abuse |
  3. angel

    They are probably being hacked.. Seems like that anonymous hacker group is after everyone..

    May 12, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • artistchd

      "A third of deaths in patients with HIV are attributable to other serious illness present at time of HIV diagnosis
      aidsmap: “Almost half the mortality in persons diagnosed with HIV in a health care setting with free access to HAART [highly active antiretroviral therapy] stemmed from factors unrelated to the HIV disease or associated factors such as toxicity of antiretroviral drugs.…”

      May 13, 2011 at 00:17 | Report abuse |
  4. excitizen

    But, many in America as well as developing countries cannot get access to the medications despite having dire medical needs.


    May 12, 2011 at 16:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nigel Tufnel

      Cost, of course.

      May 12, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse |
    • excitizen

      sad – really sad

      May 12, 2011 at 16:43 | Report abuse |
    • todd

      It isn't just cost. Many people think HIV is a moral disease. If you catch it, you deserve to die.

      May 12, 2011 at 16:50 | Report abuse |
    • Keith B

      It takes money to make money

      May 12, 2011 at 16:58 | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      Yes, the US is no better than 3rd world countries.

      May 12, 2011 at 17:53 | Report abuse |
    • iamthefredman

      You have to pay for it. This stuff is expensive to research and it taked many years. Only about 1 out of 1,000 drugs ever gets approved by the FDA. Who eats the rest of the costs/losses on the other 999? The companies. They can't give the stuff away.

      May 12, 2011 at 18:31 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      The reason why it's hard to get is very likely cost issues.

      Many countries have a Universal Health Care system where it would make it easier to get than in the US. In the US it's likely very difficult to get coverage if you have HIV, and then even if you do they may not cover the medications. And then the cost of the medications are probably insanely high. It's a double edges sword, the pharmacutical companies do have to make a profit, and it can be difficult for them to in many nations. In the perfect world then fighting things like HIV would be an altruistic thing but that isn't realistic.

      May 12, 2011 at 18:35 | Report abuse |
    • blah

      because these companies are CROOKS not allowing generics for 12+ years $1500 a month for THIRTY pills is MURDER.
      congress needs to change these laws so these crooks can get a % off the generics
      millions using generics is more money than thousands who can afford $1500 a month just to live.

      May 12, 2011 at 19:44 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      @Blah, the development costs for drugs is absolutely insane, and then they have to keep up some insane amounts of insurance coverage to protect themselves from lawsuits if something unforeseen happens with the drugs.

      While the drug companies are far from angels, if you cut out the chances of them making decent profits then they just won't develop the drugs. It's lose lose there.

      May 12, 2011 at 20:15 | Report abuse |
    • Kaye

      Tod, it is cost, very high, and yes a moral issue. In places like in the US it has been the "thing" to try and get it so as not to have to use protection. Very common in the gay club "scene"...very sad and unnecessary 😦

      May 12, 2011 at 21:42 | Report abuse |
    • LEB

      1) Scarcity. 2) Cost to produce. 3) Price gouging by pharm companies. 4) Failure by insurance companies to cover medications that are "experimental" or "preventative."

      I just hope that cheap versions of these drugs are available in the near future so that they can be sent to countries like Africa were HIV and AIDS is a serious epidemic.

      May 13, 2011 at 01:37 | Report abuse |
    • Pretty Simple

      If you don't have money, don't screw up.

      But to be fair, for those who already got the disease is exempted and should be spared from big pharma's money making.

      May 13, 2011 at 02:17 | Report abuse |
    • Allison

      Drug companies spend 3 times more on advertising then they do on research, look it up, this is the problem. Not to mention the overall creepiness of their advertisements, sitting around the tv with the kids after dinner and here is another advertisement for herpes, just love explaining that to a 12 year old girl

      May 13, 2011 at 06:52 | Report abuse |
    • bydefinition

      Why is it that USA has been sided with developing world on the issue of access to medication?
      in the UK and many EU countries this sort of medication is free and accessible to everyone no matter the cost...

      Being HIV positive myself ... there is no brand of medication that is denied to me due to high cost here in London clinics...

      May 13, 2011 at 10:21 | Report abuse |
    • CFS Facts

      I have another retrovirus (XMRV) and cannot get drugs because doctors don't want to prescribe them. It took 7 years of begging before I even got something stronger than Advil for the constant pain; I was passing out from the severity, yet the doctors kept telling me "stop whining, it can't be that bad". Ditto anything else I ask for, they assume I'm exaggerating the impact on my life. Another version of this article inquires if it could be considered "immoral" for doctors to accede to a patient's request to delay HIV meds; I question whether it could also be considered "immoral" for doctors to flatly refuse to prescribe antivirals for what I have.

      May 14, 2011 at 08:55 | Report abuse |
  5. Damon Amos

    Thank you for all the people not being rude on this article as many of the creepers out there get jolly's out of getting a rise out of innocent people.

    May 12, 2011 at 16:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael

      After Bin Laden was killed it seems people are a lot nicer on these boards. Call it my imagination but it seems like the country is a little more unified now and more interested in helping each other.

      May 12, 2011 at 18:26 | Report abuse |
    • iamthefredman

      Oh shut the (*&#(^$R up and go away !!! LOL, just kidding..........

      May 12, 2011 at 18:32 | Report abuse |
  6. warren

    This research must be unethical . The only fact that it conducted in Africa and other developing countries, raises concerns. People must have been intentionally exposed to HIV by the partner to prove the effectiveness of the therapy. Somebody needs to look into this.

    May 12, 2011 at 16:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RangerDOS

      @Damos Amos: You spoke too soon... Here's your first whach-job tin-foil hat wearing creep

      May 12, 2011 at 17:06 | Report abuse |
    • Nigel Tufnel

      9 study countries including the US. South Africa and Brazil are not "developing countries".

      May 12, 2011 at 17:12 | Report abuse |
    • JRock

      That occurred to me as well. It concerns me that certain couples were "assigned" a certain way of behaving–it seems logical that the couples with access to medicine earlier on would be better off.

      May 12, 2011 at 17:19 | Report abuse |
    • pat

      It's okay. In return for support, their govt is letting us establish drug manufacturing facilities there with a minimum of environmental regulatory oversight. Besides, coloured people don't feel pain the way we do.

      May 12, 2011 at 17:22 | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Africa is often used because the infection rate there is out of control. There is no need to infect people on purpose. Some tribes believe that raping a virgin female will cure HIV. So one might think that not starting in Africa would be unethical.

      May 12, 2011 at 18:28 | Report abuse |
    • iamthefredman

      I don't get how you identify people who were just diagnosed and then ask them to be in a trial to see if they pass the HIV on to thier partner. Was the partner OK with this? I think I would tell my partner to cut it off and stuff it in a box, because you are never touching me again.....Where' you get the HIV from anyway....... Not from me, thank you very much.

      May 12, 2011 at 18:35 | Report abuse |
  7. William

    I would think a better form of prevention is not sleeping with someone who has HIV/AIDS.

    May 12, 2011 at 17:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John

      What a brilliant observation. Too bad that's not an option for a spouse. Do you have your tin-foil hat on, btw?

      May 12, 2011 at 17:22 | Report abuse |
    • The Gays


      May 12, 2011 at 17:32 | Report abuse |
    • USMC79

      A cure for a preventable disease! How about a cure for cancer?

      May 12, 2011 at 18:03 | Report abuse |
    • CocoChanal

      Because they all come with signs or bracelets...right?

      May 12, 2011 at 18:04 | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Three out of every four people infected with HIV don't know they are. When was the last time you were tested? Monogamy is a joke so I would really get tested even if you're married and think you're in a committed relationship.

      May 12, 2011 at 18:29 | Report abuse |
    • iamthefredman

      @Michael – doesn't trust his spouse/partner.......Why Michael why ? Please share.

      May 12, 2011 at 18:46 | Report abuse |
    • Emvaz

      Which pharmaceutical company is paying you to funnel innocent people towards a test (The Western Blot) that has been proven ambiguous and virtually worthless as a diagnostic tool, and one that would have people believe that they were doomed to death and then put them on a regimen of toxic chemicals that surely would lead to that end?

      May 13, 2011 at 00:50 | Report abuse |
    • LEB

      Not everyone who has contracted HIV is aware of it yet, and other STDs can lay dormant for years in an individual so they don't even know they have it or are spreading it. Abstinence and regular testing seems like an easy answer, but even responsible individuals can have a stroke of bad luck.

      May 13, 2011 at 01:39 | Report abuse |
  8. RangerDOS

    @Damos Amos: Here's the second one... Like flies to a carcass...

    May 12, 2011 at 17:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Francesco

    To 2011judgment .... use a small "g" for your god, the real God does not "raise up more powerful deseases to send upon the gays" – the real GOD loves everyone, and more so the gays who are discriminated and marginated. Read your scripture -!

    May 12, 2011 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • burymylovely

      Thank you! I'm not Christian myself, but I was raised to think that the "Christian thing to do" was the nice, unselfish thing. Like helping people and being not judgmental. Too often crazies go around saying who God will and will not judge (like they could know). Its a breath of fresh air to see someone mentioning (and believing in) the more charitable aspects of scripture.

      May 12, 2011 at 19:08 | Report abuse |
    • Spock

      Read all the scriptures...what you say is not logical.

      May 13, 2011 at 00:02 | Report abuse |
  10. The Fly

    mmm carcasses.

    May 12, 2011 at 17:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. FLZunner

    The reason HIV positive people don't start the drugs too early, is the virus develops a resistance to them. The earlier you start, the quicker the virus can adapt. So this study is good news for the uninfected partner, no so good for the infected one. Thankfully, new drugs are coming out all the time. I just wish they'd find a way to eliminate the virus from the body.

    May 12, 2011 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • The Gays

      me too

      May 12, 2011 at 17:34 | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      Not quite. If you do take the drugs regularly, the virus never mutates (it does not exist in the body).

      If you start taking them irregularly, or start and then stop, THEN they develop resistances. See?

      May 12, 2011 at 18:52 | Report abuse |
    • FLZunner

      Wish that were the case Todd. Drugs fail after a period of time.

      May 12, 2011 at 21:31 | Report abuse |
    • gb

      Actually, there are many studies out there that show that if a HIV drug is taken consistently, resistance does not develop. There is simply not enough virus in the body to successfully mutate around the drug.

      May 12, 2011 at 22:25 | Report abuse |
    • public health vet

      @gb You're essentially right, but it is more accurate to say that the levels of the virus are so low that the statistical likelihood of mutation is insignificantly low. Viruses/bacteria aren't trying to mutate, so avoid saying they're successful or unsuccessful at mutating around the drug.

      May 12, 2011 at 23:13 | Report abuse |
  12. The Gays

    There you go again! Slandering your fellow citizens. Don't you have better things to do like get an education?

    May 12, 2011 at 17:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. FLZunner

    And all you bible-beaters. HIV is not a "GAY" disease. Anyone can get it.

    May 12, 2011 at 17:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kanye West

      u be fat

      May 12, 2011 at 17:52 | Report abuse |
  14. Jimbo

    Amazing that they've made so much progress with HIV and yet at the same time bugger all, with Cancer – but please all those sheep, continue to give generously to (so-called) cancer research – a FOR PROFIT industry!!

    May 12, 2011 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • A scientist

      Nice conspiracy theory. Fortunately, it reflects a complete lack of understanding of research in the US. Most research in the US is done by small academic labs. Most of these labs have no ties to industry. Even if you believe that all of these scientists are selfish jerks who only care about enriching themselves, don't you think that they would benefit from curing cancer. The fame, fortune (and Nobel prize) that would come from curing cancer would far outweigh any benefit that might be gained from being part of a vast evil conspiracy.

      So why is cancer research progressing so slowly? AIDS research has been challenging because the virus shows a high propensity to mutate. However, this is nothing compared to the challenges of cancer. AIDS is caused by a single virus. Stop the virus and you stop the disease. Almost every cancer is different. If you isolated tumors from 10 different patients, they would likely all have different genetic changes that caused the cancer. Therefore, it is incredibly challenging to develop a one-size-fits-all cure. This is why we have made progress with specific well-characterized cancers (for example, chronic myelogenous leukemia, which is caused by a single known mutation), but not broader progress treating all cancers.

      May 12, 2011 at 18:00 | Report abuse |
    • brotherboy

      @ A SCIENTIST : >> Some of the most intelligent reading on here. Thanks!

      May 12, 2011 at 18:28 | Report abuse |
    • SCBeauty1983

      @A Scientist: Thanks for your well-articulated and thoughtful response; it was very refreshing to see a REAL scientific response to a scientific study! Working in a lab, I know just how frustrating diseases-causing genetic mutations (such as cancer) can be to isolate and treat properly. We've come a long way in understanding their mutations, but there is still much to study, learn, and consider before we can even begin to understand, treat, prevent, or much less cure cancers and diseases like it. Ashley

      May 12, 2011 at 21:05 | Report abuse |
    • A scientist

      brotherboy: Thanks! Biomedical research is what I do for a living (albeit not on HIV or cancer), so I take all of these conspiracy theories a little personally. Most scientists I've met are intelligent, idealistic people who have chosen a relatively low-paying career because they believe in what they are doing; yet to read these message boards, you would think that we are all money-grubbing villains who are willing to let people die from disease for our own financial gain.

      May 13, 2011 at 10:23 | Report abuse |
  15. cubvespa

    Do you haters think the same about the herpes and clap that is also spread throughout the hetro community? You think god sent that diease as well? All I can say is you trolls need to educate yourselves and quit making fools of yourself by littering these comments sections.

    May 12, 2011 at 17:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. John

    The reason why HIV is incurable because it evolves quickly to elude our defense system, the moment our immune system finds the current key to fight the HIV; the HIV already mutated into a different virus - so the immune system has to start over and find the correct combination. Also, it attacks our immune system faster than the immune system can attack it.

    May 12, 2011 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael

      Incurable? No way. If the virus mutated as fast as you described then you wouldn't have the success you have now treating it. Yes it mutates, but there are commonalities that they still all share. Some people are even immune to HIV because they lack the ability to produce a protein that HIV uses to infect a cell. A man was recently cured from HIV by using bone marrow from someone that possesed that mutation. So there's lots of work but definately not incurable.

      May 12, 2011 at 18:48 | Report abuse |
    • Emvaz

      Somebody please show me a mutated HIV virus...anyone...? The "mutated virus" theory is simply a response to the fact that no known retrovirus kills the cells it infects, as it relies on those cells for it's own reproduction, therefore it must mutate into some super-virus yada yada. Thats right, no known experiment has been able to replicate the hypothesized method that that scientific establishment claims the HIV virus to destoy the immune system. What they don't tell you is that the people who take the supposed "miracle pills" that stop HIV die from them. These pills kill all multiplying cells in the body indiscriminately. So when a patient dies, the doctors say "oops, there goes another one to AIDS," or if the patient, who was previously symptom free starts deteriorating rapidly, the doctor says "imagine how bad it be if we didn't have you on the meds. So what is more likely destroying T-Cells, a drug swallowed daily that is designed to kill all cells, or some phantom mutating virus that supposedly behaves in a way that no other retrovirus does (although we have no proof of this)?

      May 12, 2011 at 19:41 | Report abuse |
    • FLZunner

      EMVAS – you need an education. Yes, the old drugs such as AZT did damage normal cells. The newer drugs are much more targeted to the virus. Maybe you should read up on current scientific research and dump the old 1908's retoric.

      May 12, 2011 at 21:37 | Report abuse |
    • Knows more than you

      FLZunner, the new drugs are not "targeted to the virus" at all (much less "more" than AZT), any more than the so called HIV tests are targeted to HIV. By the way, there were glowing announcements immediately after the initial AZT study, when later the study turned out to be terribly flawed, and AZT a disaster. But let's just accept what they're telling us at face value now. I'm sure it's true.

      May 12, 2011 at 22:04 | Report abuse |
    • Emvaz

      @Knows More Than You

      I agree, we should stop all abstract thought and take what ever the authoritarian scientific community tells us as absolute fact.

      May 12, 2011 at 23:25 | Report abuse |
    • L.M.

      The virus does mutate, even with adherence you can have mutated virus. Anytime the virus reproduces, however slowly the reproduction may be due to suppression from meds, there is the opportunity for mutation. If you are infected by someone who has failed on several treatment regimens already, you are receiving a resistant virus. Genotype testing is imperative when people find out they are positive so they can get on regimens most effective in treating the virus they are carrying.

      May 13, 2011 at 10:26 | Report abuse |
    • A scientist

      Envaz and "knows more than you": I hate to inject facts into you fun conspiracy theories, but reality simply does not mesh with your arguments. First, people taking anti-HIV drugs live on average far longer than those without treatment (last I heard, about 30 years versus about 10 for untreated individuals), so any claim that these meds "kill all multiplying cells in the body indiscriminately" and that people who take these drugs "die from them" are absurd.

      Your more general claim that these drugs are non-targeted is equally silly. One of the predominant classes of HIV drugs, the protease inhibitors, is specifically targeted to a single enzyme that is present in the virus, but not in our cells (we have proteases, but not the same one as HIV). Others target the reverse transcriptase - an enzyme completely lacking in humans. All drugs are going to show some side effects and cross-reactivity, but to say that they are not targeted to the virus is absurd.

      May 13, 2011 at 10:38 | Report abuse |
    • A scientist

      Just to clarify one point in my comment - it is absolutely true that some people do die from adverse reactions to anti-HIV drugs. However, this is true for any drug (even something as seemingly innocuous as aspirin). The point is that like any medical treatment, a cost benefit analysis needs to be done. Despite the possibility of adverse drug reactions, people on anti-HIV therapies live far longer than those who opt out of treatment.

      May 13, 2011 at 10:47 | Report abuse |
  17. art

    Like it was said before, the only concern is producing majorly resistant strains by taking it so early.

    May 12, 2011 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Andrew

    In other words: "Their will never be a cure! So spend all of your money on our medication (even though there is still a chance of contracting your disease) to help PREVENT spread!"

    Heh, a cure would devastate the big Pharma-They would never let that happen; especially since this virus can be treated for DECADES with their medication.

    May 12, 2011 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. big bird

    There is a way to eliminate the virus. I heard that if a person with HIV drinks their own urine they would get better because the antibodies are in the urine. I had a big misquito bite near my lips and I put urine on it and it went away within minutes. It might take a little longer for HIV infected people.

    May 12, 2011 at 17:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Denizen Kate

      Where did you get your medical degree? Oh . . . of course . . . Sesame Street U.

      May 12, 2011 at 18:21 | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      OMG Big Bird go find Mr. Snuffleupagus and finish your homework before getting on the internet.

      May 12, 2011 at 18:50 | Report abuse |
  20. Christopher

    Personally, I am wondering that if they jump on this right away, if they can totally cure AIDS. Something to think about, in all honesty.

    May 12, 2011 at 17:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Emvaz

      Yeah, lets forcibly medicate millions of people with a potentially deadly drug. Lets get the gays and blacks first, right?

      May 12, 2011 at 19:43 | Report abuse |
  21. evets2010

    By the way, have you packed your bags for judgment day, May 21st? It's just around the corner, and I'm sure with your Godly thoughts you'll be among the first plucked away from this planet! Have a great trip....

    May 12, 2011 at 17:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. USMC79

    Why are they spending so much $$ on a disease that is 100% preventable? How about we find drugs and a cure for cancer, ALS, MS, etc. You have no choice or way to prevent these diseases but you can certainly avoid HIV and AIDS.

    May 12, 2011 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply

      What about children born with the Virus?

      May 12, 2011 at 18:05 | Report abuse |
    • nick6539

      My best friend contracted HIV when he was 14 from a hemophiliac medication, "factor VIII" which at the time used donated blood plasma. In 1989 my cousin contracted HIV when she was in a car wreck and needed at blood transfusion. Several people at various VA medical centers were exposed to HIV when the colo-noscopy staff did not sterilize their equipment properly. But... According to you.. These things were all preventable by those individuals right? Moron.

      May 12, 2011 at 18:34 | Report abuse |
    • iamthefredman

      All smoking-related diseases and unwanted pregnancy and STDs are 100% preventable also. It only takes self-control to prevent them. Unfortunately, many people do not have self-control.

      May 12, 2011 at 18:38 | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      What the? What makes you think all those diseases you just mentioned are also not preventable? You think they just 'happen'? out of the blue? no rhyme or reason? Something is causing the cancer.

      May 12, 2011 at 18:47 | Report abuse |
  23. Woody

    I have watched someone die of aids . Fact is what I saw is as close to a horror movie as you can get in real life . And no you do not have to be gay to get it . Most people no matter if it works or not will not get the medication due to the cost . And an aids test is still not a normal test for a physical in the united states . So that means most of those that have it do not even know it . If you do not know you have it than I guess taking medication is but a mirage . Aids will kill you ! That is enough said !

    May 12, 2011 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Truth

    The truth is ...this has been out for years, just the right time to pump this back out to the mass... This is an old study..

    May 12, 2011 at 18:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Denizen Kate

    Good grief. Just drink the Koolaid already and put the rest of us out of your misery.

    May 12, 2011 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. sheeple-reader

    It seems all pages that have to do with current political events have no commenting. Those pages crash for me with a resulting error page as soon as the comment section tries to load. Come here to this page which is not a politcal page and everything is normal. Hmmm, starting to get that censored sheeple feeling again. Anyhow, it would be nice to irradicate HIV-AIDS all together as well as other diseases even worse such as CANCER or Alzhiemers etc...

    May 12, 2011 at 18:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Aezel

    So, God created a disease to target gays, but man was able to defeat it? Is that your argument then? That God had to try once but we got the better of him with medical science? He must not be God then. So then your argument is that NEXT time he'll think up a better disease, even though medical science as defeated every other disease your imaginary "God" has sent after us in history.

    Your God is kinda a failure if that is the best he can do. I say bring it on. Science has a 100% win streak against him so far.

    May 12, 2011 at 18:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • my6cents

      You obviously know nothing about God.

      May 13, 2011 at 12:14 | Report abuse |
    • Z

      I know god is a figment of your imagination. Is there more to know?

      May 13, 2011 at 13:04 | Report abuse |
    • ser

      really...why are people then dying of cancer and all these other diseases is science and medicine have a 100 percent success rate...you are a jack A$$

      May 13, 2011 at 12:24 | Report abuse |
    • 4mercy

      Perhaps God has already sent us the person who would discover the cure for this disease...but maybe that person was aborted by its mother before he or she had a chance at life. You never know what God's will is for any one person.

      May 13, 2011 at 17:18 | Report abuse |
  28. Michael

    Would be cool if there was a disease that killed straight husbands when they cheated on their wives. There's far more biblical references to straight people cheating. I think they all should die too.

    May 12, 2011 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • max in ny

      ok sounds like someone has been cheated on. You need to chill out.

      May 13, 2011 at 09:22 | Report abuse |
    • K

      Amen to that. I was monogamous, but lived in fear of what he might have brought home to me from some other woman, since his only criteria for selecting them was willingness rather than cleanliness.

      May 14, 2011 at 08:47 | Report abuse |
  29. Jimbo

    HIV is totally out these days, cancer is the new hip thing.

    May 12, 2011 at 18:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Rod C. Venger

    So what the drug companies are saying is that if they can market ARV's as a preventative drug, the way women take birth control pills, that they can rake in many Billion$ more!

    May 12, 2011 at 19:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. blah

    this is OLD NEWS, what needs to reported on is how drug companies are charging $1500+ for a months worth of these medications..... and research royalties is NOT AN ANSWER.... congress need to make laws to ALLOW for generics and give the original maker royalties from the generics for x years. NOT this insianity of 12+ years of no generics allowed to make max $$$ off this

    May 12, 2011 at 19:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Christopher

      That extremely long period for a patent is there because the drug companies have to spend massive amounts of money, time, etc. on bringing new drugs to market.

      There are a LOT of drugs that have been in the process of approval for 20 or more YEARS before finally being approved.

      May 12, 2011 at 20:15 | Report abuse |
  32. Welcome to Reality

    Someone wake me up when we actually cure a disease. Until then, I'll continue to believe (know?) that we are just in the dark ages of medicine, with little hope if you get sick.

    May 12, 2011 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Christopher

      We have cured many diseases. Malaria is treatable and very few people die from it with treatment. The common cold is another example. So is the flu. Need I keep on going? I could name at least a dozen others before I had to start looking them up.

      May 12, 2011 at 20:22 | Report abuse |
  33. Emvaz

    If HIV causes AIDS, and the medication slows HIV, then explain to me the case of Lindsey Nagel.

    May 12, 2011 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Christopher

      Simple: she was a false positive, as the article I just looked at said in it. The fact is that there is such a thing as false positives for diseases and mistaking one disease for another.

      May 12, 2011 at 20:12 | Report abuse |
  34. openeyes

    It seems this research would be justification for governments to license the drugs from the developers and give them to anyone that needs them. Pay the companies handsomely, sponsor new research, but make sure that drugs that can stop transmission so well are given to as many people with the disease as possible to stop the spread.

    May 12, 2011 at 20:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Emvaz

      While we're at it, lets throw in mandatory seasonal flu vaccinations, just in case you still have some working brain cells left.

      May 12, 2011 at 20:06 | Report abuse |
  35. Michael Rorie

    You are clearly not a rational person. It is hilarious to hear your hatred at something that doesn't affect you one bit. Btw straight men like you are the main carriers of HIV cause you guys like it sucked by men on the DL!

    May 12, 2011 at 20:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John R.

      Darwinism will have the last word on idiotic, uninformed hatred you spew. Please tell me you don't have children to pass this garbage on to.

      May 13, 2011 at 09:57 | Report abuse |
  36. Eyes Of Truth

    If my estimate is correct the researchers use 1/10 of the multi million dollars they get on the research and 2/10 of the money on the ingrediants.

    Also make a damn drug that destroys EVERY cancer cell in a persons body and AIDS cells, HIV too, get to it you damned lazy not good enough money wasting scientist, while your at it make a drug so that Justing Beiber fans aren't so Gay, Stupid, Retarted and overall brain dead an Deaf

    May 12, 2011 at 20:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Tim

    How about trying Marijuana instead?

    May 12, 2011 at 20:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TheTeacherThePreacher

      Won't help HIV infection, but it's never a bad idea...

      May 13, 2011 at 12:23 | Report abuse |
  38. Eyes Of Truth

    look at that q of my 4 other comments posted

    May 12, 2011 at 20:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Amy G Pond. Buckly

    halt production of new adhd and add meds and fix the heart problems they have a high chance of giving you, and fix the fact it gives people insomnia and loss of hunger!

    May 12, 2011 at 20:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. LiberateUs

    C'mon! There should have been a cure by NOW!

    May 12, 2011 at 20:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Intrepid

    LOL@ the person saying their friend contracted HIV from Factor VIII. Factor VIII is freeze dried during the process of producing it. Any lower level health or microbiology book tells you that HIV can't survive outside of the body in a dry environment longer than a few minutes at most. Find some other HIV wives tale to spread.

    May 12, 2011 at 20:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark

      While I am not as familiar with Factor VIII, my friend did die due to HIV transmission via transfusion; in Canada the Red Cross was sued when many received tainted blood product. It can and does happen.

      May 13, 2011 at 02:04 | Report abuse |
  42. amanda

    Okay to the guy that is talking about may 21st if u read the bible it says no one knows the day nor time not even the angels in heaven oo n god says dont wrry about the material on earth u will store it in heaven also he says there will be fale prophets hence harold camping u made a mathmatical equation out of the bible. harold camping is a part of a colt and he just released a new book and he needs the hype so read the bible befor making ne judgements on the real judgment day and harold camoing takes scriptures and twists them into his own words i dislike that loon. got a 13 year old girl threatning to commit suicide bc shes so damn scared bc of this mans mouth

    May 12, 2011 at 21:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Jennifer T

    Well it certainly is not a moral diease some people are born with it and some get it from blood tansfusions also to the guy who thinks it can be cured from drinking ur own urine if it was that easy we would have figuered that out yrs ago!

    May 12, 2011 at 21:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Newbee

    First off,do you really believe that the drug companies would release a cure! If they didn't have one already! Hint hint. They are making to much money on the drugs that prevent the spread. They won't release the cure. Then they loose too much! I think they have it but are too concerned about their wallets!

    May 12, 2011 at 21:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Newbee

    Cure = loss of all funding!

    May 12, 2011 at 21:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Newbee

    Its a big industry, and the drug companies dont really wants to see the end of that green river flowing!

    May 12, 2011 at 21:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Newbee

    Sad but true!

    May 12, 2011 at 21:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. where you should move if you get HIV

    It is amazing that AIDS is still such a problem in a "more-developed" nation such as the US, whereas in a nation like Colombia, AIDS is barely a problem anymore. They give all patients with HIV or AIDS FREE treatment! FREE! And yeah, I did say Colombia, as in that country you probably didn't know was in south america and that previously only made you think of cocaine.

    May 12, 2011 at 21:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. jim porter

    WOW - such lively and inane banter! I really want to now which of our posters are virologists and which ones just kind of making it up as they go along. This is serious stuff here for people with the disease ..... but really the amazing part of the story is that anyone had to test whether killing the virus off (or suppressing it if you prefer) actually prevented infection in an unprotected partner .... is that actually news? did we actually pay for this study? I mean - if you suppress the virus then umm yeah you can't pass it on right? - but no I am not a virologist and I probably got a C in biology and organic chemistry was the end of my medical career so maybe this result is not as blindingly obvious as it seems to me.

    May 12, 2011 at 23:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TheTeacherThePreacher

      It's not as blindingly obvious as it seems to you. in science, you need evidence to draw a reasonable conclusion, not wishful thinking.
      –A Virologist

      May 13, 2011 at 12:25 | Report abuse |
  50. Joe

    the 'gay' disease.. is doing what is supposed .. to do....

    May 13, 2011 at 01:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • there2

      You are a lovely piece of crap, aren't you?

      May 13, 2011 at 17:49 | Report abuse |
1 2

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.