A drug to prevent HIV
There’s a pill that can protect against HIV infection. Why aren’t more people taking it?
For decades, the message has been that the only way to prevent HIV infection is to wear a condom every time you have sex. Jim Pickett, who heads prevention advocacy for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, says that advice will never be effective enough to eradicate the disease.
Truvada, a drug made by Gilead, was approved more than a year ago by the FDA as another option to prevent the spread of the disease. In clinical trials, it has proven more effective in protecting HIV negative people from contracting the disease than condom use, but it’s been slow to catch on. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about Truvada, why the HIV community has been slow to embrace the drug and how new HIV prevention tools are changing the way we think about the disease. Jim Pickett of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and Mike Benner, Executive Director of the Greater Community AID Foundation in Champaign join us.
This Saturday will mark the 25th World AIDS Day. The first such day was established in 1988 to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection.
Between 1981 and 2007, more than 25 million people died from AIDS. But more and more people today are living with HIV – research has led to medical regimens that make it more of a chronic disease to be controlled, rather than the almost certain death sentence it once was. Still, globally, an estimated 33 point three million people are H-I-V positive. And AIDS still takes close to two million people each year – more than half of them in Sub-Saharan Africa.
World AIDS Day in Champaign is Thursday, Dec. 1, and it is being marked by a free showing of the documentary "We Were Here." The film is about the fight against AIDS when it first appeared in San Francisco's gay community 30 years ago. The 5:30 PM showing at the Illinois Terminal Building is sponsored by the Greater Community AIDS Project (GCAP).
Illinois Public Media's Jim Meadows spoke with GCAP's director, Mike Benner about the services they provide, and Benner's own experiences as a person living with HIV. GCAP provides support services for people with HIV and AIDS in a ten-county region, including low-cost housing, food assistance and emergency financial aid. The agency is funded by government grants and private donations raised mostly through local fund raising events. One of them is coming up Saturday, Dec. 3 at the Levis Faculty Center on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana. The GCAP 2011 Holiday Gala Fundraiser will feature dinner, live music and an auction.