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The FDA has approved a pill that can help those having sex with HIV + partners avoid being infected. From the SF Chronicle story:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the marketing of the first drug shown to curb the transmission of the HIV virus, a development heralded by AIDS advocates and physicians as a turning point in the battle against the decades-long epidemic.

Truvada, made by Gilead Sciences in Foster City, was approved in 2004 to treat people already infected with HIV, but studies have shown the drug is also effective at reducing the risk of contracting the virus. “It’s a huge milestone that could change the course of the epidemic,” said Dr. Robert Grant, a UCSF professor and a researcher with the Gladstone Institute for Virology and Immunology who led one of the two studies on which the FDA approval was based. “The main challenge is for everyone to start thinking of HIV as a problem that can be prevented,” he said.

Of course it can. People who are HIV+ shouldn’t have sex or share needles. It seems to me that everyone with a deadly communicable disease has the responsibility as a human being not to risk others—even if they say okay knowing the risk.  Sex is an important part of life, but human life and health are far more important.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very glad the drug—developed by a part of evil Big Pharama!—helps reduce infection. I have seen the face of AIDS at close quarter, and it is tragic beyond describing.  But according to the story, all these years after the start of the catastrophe, there are still 50,000 new infections each year in the USA alone—and woe-betide us if the current drugs stop holding active AIDS at bay.

None of these infections need occur.  Yet, in all the discussion about condemning smokers and the obese for their impact on health care spending, we never get around to discussing the impact HIV has on health care spending and that it is as preventable as tobacco-related diseases.

By the way, the evil Donald Rumsfeld was chairman of the drug’s developer,  Gilead Sciences in the late 1990s when this very beneficial drug was being developed. HT Mark Levin.

Update: Commenter David researched the issue and says the company was not the original developer of the drug, so Rumsfeld was not involved. Thank goodness that was cleared up!

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