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Gay HIV study to look at daily prevention pill

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  1. Jock S. Trap 20 Apr 2011, 4:13pm

    This is a good step forward indeed but Whilst most would use it probably it worries me that there will be some that feel that this will make them immune and encourage then to take risks.

    However as I’ve said before other than standing over people while they have sex I can’t see what else can be done.

    So long as those charities continue to be able to help put the message out there to promote safer sex, that message should never cease.

  2. Chutneybear 20 Apr 2011, 4:20pm

    If we take precautions would we not need this?

    1. Aside from abstinence, no method provides 100% protection, so this would be an additional safeguard. It also sounds like this drug may be targeted at those who are especially at risk, or more pointedly, engage in riskier sex.

  3. If a guy can’t be bothered wearing a johnny would he be bothered taking a pill?

    1. Chutneybear 20 Apr 2011, 4:57pm


      1. +2
        We already have HIV prevention.
        It’s called “Keeping your dick in your pants”.

        1. Charles Gormley 21 Apr 2011, 1:31am

          Celibate are you spanner?

          1. Taking a pill might be easier for some people because you don’t have to take it a the time of sex, you don’t have to get your partner to agree to it being taken, it doesn’t interrupt or affect the sex. Lots of women find contraceptive pills a better option than condoms.

          2. Yup. What of it James! ?

  4. Wait, isn’t this the same pill that a study recently demonstrated showed no noticeable reduction in HIV infection when administered to women in Africa?

    So why is this being tried AGAIN, this time with gay men?

    1. Jock S. Trap 21 Apr 2011, 9:33am

      Possibly because of the different strains of HIV. It might be effective on one but not the others.

    2. It’s already been shown to be effective in gay men (the IPREX study) – it was a surprise when it didn’t work in South African women.

  5. Supposing it were to be proven to be effective, I doubt the tax-paying public would be overjoyed about paying for it so that gay men who sleep around don’t have to use a condom.

    1. Jock S. Trap 21 Apr 2011, 9:34am

      Well I guess so long as people like you wiiling to continue to stereotype there’ll always be a problem.

  6. Just wear a freakin condom.

  7. What about the side effects? Tell us about the side effects. I take Truvada and it is not pleasant. I hate taking the meds because of the awful side effects. I can’t imagine anyone taking Truvada without it being necessary.

    Just another plan for big pharma to make more money. It is all about the $$$.

    Travada side effects:Abnormal skin sensations; back pain; cough; darkened skin color on the palms of hands or soles of feet; diarrhea; dizziness; gas; headache; indigestion; loss of appetite; nausea; sinus drainage; skin discoloration (small spots or freckles); strange dreams; sweating; tiredness; trouble sleeping; vomiting; weakness; weight loss. Rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; bone pain; chest pain; mental or mood changes; muscle pain or weakness; numbness, burning, pain, or tingling in the hands or feet

    Okay so now who is first to take the night-out-on-the town pill? How about you? Open wide.

    1. JeffK –
      Thank you for pointing this out. I’ve been screaming bloody murder about this for a few months now (when this scheme was first floated in the U.S.), and I’m disappointed (though not in the least surprised) that Gilead (the manufacturer of Truvada) is attempting this in the U.K.
      This seems an entirely cynical attempt to squeeze yet more profit out of this drug, whose patent is about to run out – unless a “new application” can be found.
      A friend who took this experienced many of the side effects you’ve detailed, as well as one that’s documented, but doesn’t appear on your list: devastating osteoporosis. He’s now having to take treatment for THAT in addition to the other side effects.

      1. I think you’ve nailed it, look at the effort in trying to sue India and Brazil for trying to produce generic versions of the drugs.

        Another question, what happens if the person who encounters a Truvada-resistant strain of HIV?

    2. Can somebody enlighten us non-druggies: What exactly is Truvada?

  8. Why not use a condom and save money on popping pills? When alls said and done using a rubber also reduces the risk of catching HIV…..yet there are still a lot of people who don’t use them. Why do they think that they’ll take a pill?

    1. Jock S. Trap 21 Apr 2011, 9:35am

      and some who won’t use them.

  9. It’s all about the money.

  10. Great. More megabucks for the pharmaceuticals (note one pill a day, that’s 365 a year, kerchiiiing!) and more gay men throwing caution to the wind and dispensing with condoms altogether. I know several who caught HIV thinking they could plan a weekend of unsafe sex around the PEP treatment. The last thing we need is morning after pill unless it is 100 PER CENT proven to work. Otherwise this is frankly insane.

  11. Why are the HIV “prevention” charities jumping up and down in excitement? Oh yes. They are part funded by the companies who stand to make a killing.

    That’s why they pushed PEP like soap powder in the most reckless fashion possible.

    Never mind the inevitable side effects and the likelihood that no drug can be completely effective at preventing HIV contraction.

    Why don’t these charities start doing what they are paid to do and prevent the spread of HIV instead of cheer leading the greedy drugs companies?

    1. Jock S. Trap 21 Apr 2011, 9:38am

      Because like most illnesses it actually cost less to have prevention than it does to having a life time of treatment.

      1. You bet it does Jock, which is why it makes no economic sense that the HIV prevention sector is not trying harder, or why some of their campaigns have actually incentivised gay men into abandoning condoms and acquiring HIV.

        Take a look at this link to be better informed:

        So, the Health Protection Agency itself is quoting a the figure for someone with HIV to be treated over a lifetime at £360K. Maths may not be my specialised subject but even I can see how the prevention sector’s gross dereliction of duty has cost not only our community but the country dear.

        The ongoing transmission of HIV is frankly unsustainable when NHS wards are being threatened with closure and cancer patients are being deprived their own life-saving drugs. Soon the Government will notice this grotesque anomaly arising from the failure of certain charities to do the job they were funded to do.

        1. Jock S. Trap 21 Apr 2011, 12:30pm

          You clearly have had not experience of a charity working like you mention working for you. Well I have.

          I find you claim offencive to say the least. HIV charities work flat out, beyond their budgets to get the message out there, to help those in need. To accuse them of giving incentives is slanderous at best.

          Then as I said you have never been fortunate to have seen them work and the invaluable effort they put in to HIV prevention.

          Without these charites live for many would be intolerable and HIV itself would increase dramatically. Are you saying you’d rather find that out? Then who will you blame?

        2. Jock S. Trap 21 Apr 2011, 12:33pm

          “the ongoing transmission of HIV is frankly unsustainable when NHS wards are being threatened with closure and cancer patients are being deprived their own life-saving drugs.”

          So what stop treating HIV patients? Is that what you are saying?

          If it wasn’t for my medication I would have died 3 years ago. Thanks to them I hope to be around for many, many years thank you.

          1. It’s not me who is suggesting that. But it is the sort of thing the Tory-led coalition may cite as an excuse to move HIV sufferers onto cheaper, lower-grade antivirals that are not as effective as the top-line drugs that, as you say, are keeping thousands alive.

            Don’t you regard that possibility as a cause for concern Jock, because from what you say you use these drugs to treat your HIV? What if you were told you were being moved onto less effective generics?

            The signs are everywhere, with the NHS making more and more excuses not to treat people with particular ailments, and care in general becoming a postcode lottery.

            The HIV charities, as many have observed of late, serve themselves before anyone else. It has even been suggested that they have no interest in lowering HIV rates as that would take funding for services away from them. Their business plan is based on the projection of the next 12 months conversion rates.

            Fait accompli, as they say.

          2. Jock S. Trap 23 Apr 2011, 9:14am


            Actually it was under Labour who tried to move some patience onto cheaper alternatives via the NHS.

            No, to answer your question I don’t feel for me there is a cause for concern. You are clearly scaremongering and assuming you know about HIV medication when you so clearly know nothing. HIV medication doesn’t work as easy as you suggest. Which is why I feel confident enough to know they will not change them.

            It is clear where you lay on this subject. Deny all except all those You accept. Well thankfully the health service isn’t run like that. Nobody asks to have HIV.

          3. Jock S. Trap 23 Apr 2011, 9:15am

            It is obviously blatantly clear you know nothing about HIV, it’s medication nor the charities surrounding it.

  12. If we take HIV prevention pills how do they test if they are having any affect? Does that mean you have to find HIV infected guy and sleep with them and hope. Pretty big gamble. :(

    Though despite my pessimism any focus on curing and stopping this terrible disease is welcome by me.

    1. Well, I have a few friends in the blood / bio / health fields, so it is a subject I have an interest in. I think most of us thought we would never see a cure in our lifetimes, but it seems we may be wrong. The combination therapy drugs now working to block immuno-suppresants now work so well they can reduce viral loads to virtually undetectable levels within three months.

      The problem is something called “memory cells” which can retain the virus even at drastically reduced levels, so if you were to come off the drugs, the levels would rise again. Also you are still HIV+ so could infect others.

      That said, I think we are very close to getting past that final hurdle of eliminating the memory cells, at which point the virus could be totally eliminated from the body.

      1. But Spanner, these combination therapies in themselves are highly toxic in the body. These are not natural remedies but synthetic compounds that are alien to the body’s normal functioning, and myriad side effects are reported from user to user. Studies in the US have shown the deteriorating effect they have on the body’s ability to function normally over a number of years, and people are likely to die from complications arising from the longterm use of these drugs as the eventual and inevitable progress to full-blown Aids. The combination of these two factors impacting on the body makes it extremely unlikely for anyone to live out a normal lifespan. Perhaps the prevention charity’s focus should be as much about how potentially harmful these drugs are to the body as the negative implications of contracting HIV itself.

        1. I am well aware of effects of the drugs. Contracting HIV is likely to knock at least ten years off your life. The point is though, if the elimination of these “memory cells” happened, it would mean you would be HIV- once again and come off the medication.

          This would basically have the effect of only having to take these dangerous drugs for a few months, not for the rest of one’s life.

        2. Rob – you are right. I give talks, on behalf of THT in schools about HIV/AIDS and I tell them what it is like to live with the condition. I always mention the side effects of the medication I have to take because I think it is important for them to realise that this is not an easy option. This always appears to be a revelation to the schoolkids and I am frequently asked for more information. Perhaps this should be the stronger message: if you are not prepared to have safe sex then the side effects of the medication you will have to take for the rest of your life will be….x,y,z. Would that be sufficiently scary?

  13. This is total madness.

    It’s so important to understand the different types of people and the different motivations for engaging in risky activities and sexual behaviour and tackle it from this angle.

    Most sensible ‘balanced’ people understand the risks and take adequate precautions but there’s a still an unacceptable and unnecessary rate of infection specifically amongst gay men.

    Is it down to a lack of perceived future in those that actively engage in destructive behaviour? Is because HIV charities have duped people into a false sense of security for fear of offending people and having commercial links and interests?

    There needs to be a stigma about living a reckless drug fuelled living for the weekend lifestyle, as it’s a matter of life of death quite simply. Drugs, booze, unhappy people, saunas & grindr = !!!

    I am 26 and have three friends my age who are HIV+ but despite their good health it adds another layer of complication, anxiety and doubt for very obvious reasons.

    1. My fear for young men of your generation, CTE, is the degree of complacency with which HIV/AIDS appears to be treated. The fact that it is no longer life-threatening, can be treated with a handful of pills a day appears to mean to them that should they become infected it can be easily dealt with. Why is the message not getting to them that living with this condition is not that simple, that it actually has a major impact on your life, not one that can be easily dealt with and dismissed. What do we have to do to get that message to them. I really would like to know.

  14. Somebody is doing something about it. There’s a vaccine that prevents HIV from turning into AIDS!

    1. You really need to read up a little before making comments like that.
      AIDS is simply a condition based on your T-Cell count. When they drop below a certain level, you have AIDS, even if they rise back to normal levels again.

      It is merely a status, or a worsened condition of being an HIV+ person, there is no actual physiological change between being HIV+ and having AIDS.

      1. Actually the UK definition of AIDS is when your CD4 Cell count drops below 250 PLUS you have an AIDS-defining illness. I should know, I have been there. There is a difference however between the UK and the US. In the UK, as Spanner says, once your CD4 count rises above 250 and your AIDS-defning illness is under control you no longer have AIDS. In the US once you have AIDS you always have it, regardless of your blood counts.

        1. We have never in the UK based an AIDS diagnosis on CD4 count. I would be interested to know your reference to the figure of 250 in the UK. A count of 200 or less in the US is classified as an AIDS diagnosis, I beleive this is linked to the historical requirement to have an AIDS diagnosis before an individual could claim Social Security in the States.

          Today the terms AIDS is not commonly used in the UK even when an AIDS defining illness may be present. Clinicians and other health proffessionals prefer to use the term “advanced HIV infection”

  15. Just as a matter of interest, people might be want to take a word of caution here:

    Condoms are contraceptives. From the Latin “prevent conception”. Their sole and only purpose is to prevent pregnancy. They are also only tested for that purpose. The fact that they also prevent infection is only a secondary function, and they are actually not sold for that purpose.

    Contraceptives are tested for holes and imperfections to prevent the passage of human sperm cells escaping, and only tested to that size. The HIV is smaller by a factor of nearly 200, and it is possible that they could get through a condom should there be any holes smaller than a sperm.

    Condoms are not infallible, which why the onus since HIV’s discovery in the 80’s is to practice safer sex.
    The only safe sex is to wank over a webcam.

  16. Why is it there is the belief that all gay men are obsessed with sex and so if a cure for HIV should be found, they would begin having sex in the street? I find that assertion very offensive – Just like heterosexual men, there are some gay men also who have sex in moderation. There are some gay men who don’t have sex at all. The ones who are out sexing around the cities are the ones who just don”t care.

    1. All men are obsessed with sex. Fact.
      The difference is that straight men can’t have it all the time because women won’t let them.

      1. Jock S. Trap 24 Apr 2011, 11:14am

        You just showing your ignorance. Stop judging everyone by you own actions.
        Just because you can’t keep it in your trousers for more than a minute don’t assume everyone is the same.

      2. the menstruator 24 Apr 2011, 12:27pm

        Men are obsessed with sex, fine. However, whot he hell are you to talk about what women want and don’t want. Keep talking from the HIV point of view, but not the female. I assure you… you know NOTHING about women. So just keep taking it in the arse and getting tested.

    2. Jock S. Trap 24 Apr 2011, 11:13am

      Here, Here Putt. Very well put(t).

      Totally agree.

    3. The ultimate sole purpose of any life form is to reproduce. In higher lifeforms such as mammals, it is generally the male’s role to instigate it, and the female’s to decide if they actually want it. Males will spread their seed as far and wide as possible, whereas females are the ones that are going to have to carry the dhild through to birth, and in many animals a long time afterwards.

      That is a simple biological fact. I’m sure some of the wimmin on here may argue otherwise, but you cannot dispute a few million years of evolution.

  17. the menstruator 24 Apr 2011, 12:26pm

    it’s hilarious that a disease that can be prevented by some self control is going to also have a pill to take. is it like gay birth control? no new Hiv births? some women have to take bc for years and years. the side effects? big one is heart attack. but some are worried about side effects? what about the side effects of hiv? duh.

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