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A brief history of AIDS medications and treatments.

The first weapon to fight against spread of HIV inside a human body
was discovered in 1987. Its name is AOP-RANTES which inhibited HIV entry
not only into lymphocytes but also into macrophages. They interfere
with white blood cells which protect the body against viruses and
bacteria. AOP-RANTES blocks HIV entry blood cells. (Based on a study by
Glaxo Wellcome collaboration) Scientists believe that by attacking HIV
in early stage, they can delay or stop progression to disease. That was a
new approach targeting host cells i.e. CD4 (white blood cells) to
prevent HIV entry.

This is the beginning of the new sophisticated
fight against HIV. We shall see here below further advances starting
from 1987 up-to-date with the latest developments in the medical History
in man’s fight against HIV/AIDS.

First Ten Years of Battle 1987-1997:

On
03.3.87, Retrovir, the first drug licensed for the treatment of
HIV/AIDS was launched in the UK. Till then, doctors were powerless to
fight against advancement of HIV to AIDS leading to death. In 1995, new
data revealed that taking a combination of Retrovir with one of the most
powerful drugs Epivir TM, (3TCTM, lamivudine), reduces the amount of
HIV in the blood by 99% Since then, other studies have shown that
addition of a third drug, a member of a new class of drugs called
protease inhibitors which attack the virus in a different way, reduces
the amount of virus even further to undetectable levels in some
patients.

Since Retrovir was launched and in less time than it
normally takes to bring just one drug from laboratory to the patient,
another 8 drugs have been licensed to treat HIV and there are dozens of
potential new drugs in the pipeline.

In 1997, Professor Joep
Lange, Director, National AIDS Therapy Evaluation Centre at the Academic
Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam declared that:

“Even if
we cannot eradicate the virus, we will continue to develop treatment
strategies that suppress the infection and prevent disease progression
for longer and longer until HIV becomes a manageable
non-life-threatening condition”.

So this is the situation in 1997.
ART on one side and progress in research on the other side marked the
developments from 1987 to 1997

A New Combination of Drugs to Cure AIDS in 1999:

In
a major development in the area of AIDS treatment Prof. Anthony Fauci
of the National Institute for Allergy and infectious diseases in US
announced a new combination of drugs that promised of a cure for AIDS.
Prof Fauci, who is an internationally renowned AIDS expert, made the
above announcement at the tenth International Conference on immunology.

The
new combination held out the hope for a potential cure for the disease
as it had been found to clear out the AIDS virus completely from the
blood stream. Specifically, it was found to remove the virus from
specific cells of the immune system (CD4 cells).

The new
combination he announced was ART drugs, AZT (Azidothymidine) and an
enzyme protease (three drug therapy), along with the inclusion another
new drug by adding interluekins, a class of proteins secreted by immune
cells completely eliminated the virus from CD$ cells that circulated in
blood.

The new drug, though might be successful, it may not be of
much use to developing countries, as the therapy would be costlier than
the existing one, which itself was beyond the reach of most of them.

TRUVADA: the 21st Century Drug:

Truvada
is known chemically as a fixed-dose, daily in-take combination of
emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. Since 2004, it has been
marketed as a treatment to those already affected with HIV. However,
beginning 2010, clinical studies demonstrated that the drug could
prevent people from contracting the infection. Truvada could be a
preventive measure for high-risk individuals such as those with HIV
positive partners provided the users counsel sexual health counsellors
and use condoms.

A three year study showed that the daily in-take
of Truvada reduced the risk of infection in healthy gay and bisexual men
by 42%, who belong to high risk group.

A recent study in 2011 found that Truvada reduced infection by 75% in heterosexual couples in which one partner was infected.

A
recent Press-Release by FDA informs that they have since given their
first ever nod for this anti-HIV drug to the pharmaceutical company
Gilead Sciences. (Source: The Hindu-July 18, 2012)

S
brief and simple treatment of anti HIV drugs was given in the above
paragraphs. Attending to the needs of HIV/Aids affected and infected
people requires talents in various fields. A highly qualified doctor
should have a bent of social service and also should be a psychologist.
Likewise, a social worker should not only be a good psychologist, but
also should have a fundamental knowledge of AIDS medication. Also a
psychologist should have the knowledge of both social service and
medicine.