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Experts Claim HIV Patients Made Non-Infectious 394

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the shot-in-the-arm dept.
Misanthrope writes to tell us that Swiss scientists are claiming that with proper treatment HIV patients can be made non-infectious. "The statement's headline statement says that 'after review of the medical literature and extensive discussion,' the Swiss Federal Commission for HIV / AIDS resolves that, 'An HIV-infected person on antiretroviral therapy with completely suppressed viraemia ("effective ART") is not sexually infectious, i.e. cannot transmit HIV through sexual contact.'"
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Experts Claim HIV Patients Made Non-Infectious

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  • by bagboy (630125) <neo@NOSpam.arctic.net> on Monday February 04, 2008 @07:11PM (#22299580)
    I promise...... Trust me....
    • by KublaiKhan (522918) on Monday February 04, 2008 @07:15PM (#22299646) Homepage Journal
      It's worth noting that this finding is only valid if there are no other STIs present--so if you've got the clap -and- HIV, you'll still be more likely to transmit it.

      Wasn't there an article a short while ago about how treating concurrent STIs also tended to decrease the rate of AIDs infection in an area? Perhaps this is related?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Given that the same high risk behaviour that spreads HIV also spreads other STDs, I can't see this will actually help much.
        • by KublaiKhan (522918) on Monday February 04, 2008 @07:24PM (#22299806) Homepage Journal
          Not all people who contract AIDS are engaging (voluntarily, anyway) in high-risk behavior.

          Also, treating STDs would provide opportunity for conversion of high-risk behaviors into lower-risk behaviors, e.g. you're in the office anyway, why not have a little talk about safe sex while you're there?

          Hence, treating the other (usually more obvious) STDs would presumably impact the treatment of AIDS for a number of reasons--counselling, earlier detection, and possible reduction of the viral load to a less-dangerous level.
          • by ricebowl (999467) on Monday February 04, 2008 @08:32PM (#22300674)

            Also, treating STDs would provide opportunity for conversion of high-risk behaviors into lower-risk behaviors, e.g. you're in the office anyway, why not have a little talk about safe sex while you're there?

            So...what is it that you do in your office?

          • by mrxak (727974)
            This is true, and it's hard to argue that any measure to prevent transmission shouldn't be welcomed, whether or not it cures the person. Unfortunately not everyone with HIV and knows it stops having sex. If there's a treatment that can let them keep doing what they're doing anyway and stop the virus from spreading, great.
    • I swear, sometimes the tags are the best part about /.

      Thanks for the laugh
    • by noidentity (188756) on Monday February 04, 2008 @08:18PM (#22300470)

      I'm not infected baby... Really.... I promise...... Trust me....

      Given that this is on Slashdot, that's pretty much a given.

    • So who wants to... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Crazy Taco (1083423)

      So who wants to be the one to test this hypothesis?

      On another note, how can you say for sure if this even works? Usually whenever an AIDS vaccine is tried in humans, it is given to a population of people at high risk of getting HIV(usually gay men). How can you tell if something like this stops people from spreading it, when their partners are interacting with other, infectious people? They are likely to get HIV regardless, if not from the non-infectious person, then from someone else. How do you figure o

  • Old News (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 04, 2008 @07:11PM (#22299584)
    I have HIV and I haven't used a condom in several years with dozens of sexual partners.

    Nobodoy has called me back saying they have AIDS, so I must not be infectious.
  • Encouraging news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KublaiKhan (522918)
    One can only hope that the treatments can be made available at a decent price, so that the folks who are most likely to pass it on--poor people who don't know how to use contraception and the like--will be able to be treated.

    Unlikely, though, I dare say...those drug companies do love their income.
    • Re:Encouraging news (Score:4, Interesting)

      by nonsequitor (893813) on Monday February 04, 2008 @07:15PM (#22299658)
      It is my understanding anti-retroviral treatment is very expensive. For this to have any effect on the spread of HIV, every infected person in the third world needs treatment.

      I wonder how many months in Iraq it would cost to do something like that.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by KublaiKhan (522918)
        Thus my comment about the drug companies.

        Though IIRC, there was a recent article about a couple of patents being overturned for some AIDS drug or another; this would make (presumably lower-cost) generics available.

        My personal opinion is that these drugs (of all kinds) would likely be a lot less expensive if the companies that made them did not advertise all over the place--because, frankly, they're all only available with prescriptions anyway; why not trust the doctors to prescribe what's best for the patie
        • No, they'd be the same price, you just wouldn't have as many morons going to the doctor and demanding Fooviroflex(TM) instead of what was actually best.
          Downside is that then drug companies can't boost consumption (& therefore profits) via ads.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Belial6 (794905)
            Part of the problem is that often the patient DOES know better than the doctor. I can honestly say that I have not had a doctor do, or say anything to me that I did not already know since I was about 10 years old. I have on the other hand had doctors tell me things that were simply wrong. I'm sure there are some good doctors out there, but the nature of our medical industry leaves most of us diagnosing our own illness. Not out of hubris, but out of necessity.
            • by timmarhy (659436)
              i hate to break it to you, but the only reason a competent doctor would get it wrong would be if you threw him a red herring of some kind, or if your symptoms were so nondescript it could be a 100 things.

              i'd say the most likely case here is that the doctor is right, and you just THINK you know better.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Belial6 (794905)
                Really? So, explain to me what happened to the the test to check for Chicken Pox that seemed to disappear between the time that one doctor told my wife that there was no test to see if a child had chicken pox, and the time that a second doctor schedule the test at the lab. Given that I have had many people express that they have had the same kinds of experience with doctors telling them things that are incorrect, your qualifier of 'competent' must only apply to a small percentage of them.

                Of course ther
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by sayfawa (1099071)
                  I agree. And I'd just like to add that another couple of problems with doctors is that,
                  1) many seem to think they are done learning once they finish med school and get their practice going. They don't seem to have the research mentality that other scientists do. And,
                  2) they have to deal with so many idiots who don't know or care about their bodies that they think we are all like that. And instead of giving us "dangerous" information that they don't feel we need to know they just give us the meds and send
              • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Monday February 04, 2008 @09:50PM (#22301514)

                or if your symptoms were so nondescript it could be a 100 things.

                Well shit. If you rule out the hard cases, an RN could do anything a general practitioner doctor can.

                That SHOULD be why they make the big bucks - the hard cases with confusing or nondescript symptoms. As a practical matter, most of them bail on anything they can't churn through in a 15 minute office visit. Even specialists are starting to suck. They can't be bothered to do any research, if the usual blood work doesn't solve the problem, they'll just roll through tests until they get lucky, or you just give up. Or die, maybe. And if your symptoms fall between specialties, you're completely fucked, because they can't be bothered to fill in knowledge gaps with...again...research. Which would help them put evidence together with their own expertise to make a successful diagnosis OR at least find the right specialist. But for most doctors, forget it.

                i'd say the most likely case here is that the doctor is right, and you just THINK you know better.

                I can back up the OP. I had a problem for 8 years that multiple doctors consistently failed at. None even came up with a guess, just saw me for an appointment, sent me off for the wrong test, told me they didn't know what it was, and referred me to someone else. When the 5th doctor in the chain referred me to the first, I said to hell with it and decided to live with the symptoms. I eventually got sick of that, and successfully diagnosed it myself. With Google, effort, and a brain.

                I feel sorry for others though. I'm a scientist and have good research skills. People shouldn't have to be forced to do their own medical care.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Wdomburg (141264)
                Very few people in any field are competent and even those that are can make mistakes or have gaps in their knowledge.

                A few years ago my wife was suffering from recurring miscarriages, so we got a consult with a reproductive endocrinologist. His insightful conclusion? That she was ovulating. Yeah, great detective work there. Anovulatory women aren't a particularly high risk group for miscarriages.

                When we finally did retain a successful pregnancy, it was off to the perinatologist. Twin pregnancy on top o
            • You need to watch House a bit. Particularly the Climic bits.
            • Either you have a medical degree or you have not been to a doctor since you were 10 years old.

              Lots of people drop out of med school because it's hard.
            • Part of the problem is that often the patient DOES know better than the doctor. I can honestly say that I have not had a doctor do, or say anything to me that I did not already know since I was about 10 years old. I have on the other hand had doctors tell me things that were simply wrong. I'm sure there are some good doctors out there, but the nature of our medical industry leaves most of us diagnosing our own illness. Not out of hubris, but out of necessity.

              I usually dictate my own treatment etc... but the doctor is there when I'm really wrong or have no idea. Doctors are just people with some experience. Just as anyone can fix a computer or car sometimes you need someone with more then do it yourself experience to get certain things done. To contrast, in Canada were access to doctors is free people live longer then in the US where it is not free. So for the majority of humanity it seems your experience is not helpful.

        • by ceoyoyo (59147)
          I have to say I've never seen an antiretroviral commercial. Something tells me that might be really entertaining.

          It's not your personal opinion though. Studies have been done that indicate the drug companies generally spend more on advertising than they do on research. And since they're always whining that they have to charge high prices for their drugs to pay for the advertising....
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by tezbobobo (879983)
        Not as much as involuntary castration of males with HIV and cutting off the hands of those who inject.

        I wouldn't seriously consider that though. I'm just saying.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nonsequitor (893813)
          Wow, thats right up there with putting the infected into concentration camps. Your trolling needs work, it has to be believable that you personally hold that opinion to elicit the shrill responses a good troll will get.

          My point above was that this is not viable for mass treatment and will only be available to the privileged elite like Magic Johnson. Though you are technically correct about the effectiveness of your method, you've raised a fundamental ethics question: Is saving the species from disease wor
          • by ceoyoyo (59147)
            "will only be available to the privileged elite like Magic Johnson"

            That's a little over the top. Antiretroviral treatment is available to anybody who needs it in most of Europe and Canada and to most Americans. It is much rarer in places like Africa where it's really needed, but it's definitely not a Magic Johnson only type thing.
      • "How many months in Iraq" is becoming a unit of measure just as "how many libraries of congress". Very interesting lol.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "-poor people who don't know how to use contraception and the like--will be able to be treated."

      So you think it's likely that these people you describe, the ones who don't know how to use a condom or reliably take birth control pills, will be able to take their antiretrovirals, usually several times daily, and not appreciably miss doses to keep their viral load down for at least SIX MONTHS (yes - i read the article) is the more likely outcome?

      This is an intersting finding, but not what you think it is.
      • by tezbobobo (879983) on Monday February 04, 2008 @08:23PM (#22300542) Homepage Journal
        You may have read the article but your missing some pieces of the puzzle. The people who catch and spread aids via condom misuse are those who do not care in the 'heat of the moment'. Birth control pills don't enter the equation because they have nothing to do with the spread of Aids, except perhaps to persuade those who do not have them to use a little more abstinence.

        The best way to deliver these drugs would be to use a system similar to implanon if available, whereby any drug are implanted subdermally and released slowly. The benefit is that by having a steady stream lower doses can be used. Secondly, governments are constantly comparing the future costs of care for incapacitated aids patients to current treatment cost. When a sufficiently effective solution presents itself - if the cost benefit is good - governments *will* pay for it.
    • One can only hope that the treatments can be made available at a decent price, so that the folks who are most likely to pass it on--poor people who don't know how to use contraception and the like--will be able to be treated.

      It seems to me that once you have HIV then rich or poor this doesn't help you much, it's more of a help your community. So the incentives for treatment are a bit unusual. If there was ever a case for government funding of a drug, it's here, ie in the absence of any real personal benefit for the individual who would otherwise be asked to pay.

      Also, if this works it doesn't really matter if it doesn't get absolutely everywhere; if you only reduce the transmisability of a disease in a population you can s

      • Re:Encouraging news (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Tsiangkun (746511) on Monday February 04, 2008 @07:44PM (#22300074) Homepage
        Those were my first thoughts, make this available as a way to protect the community.

        If we can do bullshit like keep two ounces of mouthwash off a plane, while letting one ounce on, then we can get effective disease prevention to our population.

        Then I thought more, since I live in America where reality based communities don't alway align with the faith based government.

        My government hates sex. My government hates gays. My government thinks AIDS is a gay disease. AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease, and my government is not going to subsidize someones sex life.

        My government will do nothing but continue to say abstinence is the only way to remain disease free.

        Captcha = unfair
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by shihonage (731699)
          Actually, around 47% of all people diagnosed with AIDS were infected with HIV through male-to-male sexual contact, while people exposed through heterosexual contact comprise around 17% of the total. Male-to-male sexual contact probably caused the majority (66%) of infections in white people living with AIDS. It's not "faith", it's "fact". When political correctness stands in the way of science it becomes a disease in itself. A mental one.
        • Then I thought more, since I live in America where reality based communities don't alway align with the faith based government.

          You seem to be under the impression that things are better elsewhere. Are they?

          The America-bashing is beginning to get somewhat out of hand. Although it is actually quite a good thing that Americans are once again inherently distrustful of their government, things aren't exactly a bed of roses elsewhere.

          As an American who's been living in Europe for a small chunk of time, I can s

      • Re:Encouraging news (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 04, 2008 @07:57PM (#22300210)
        Actually, having worked in third world medical aid I can say categorically that there is a benefit to the patients receiving these drugs. So it's win win for the people taking the drugs (their quality of life is improved, they live longer) and the community.

        Aids is no longer the death sentence it once was. It's like diabetes, if left untreated it is fatal but it can be treated successfully. If they can just eliminate the transmission aspect, then this scourge will be gone in a few generations.
        • Re:Encouraging news (Score:4, Informative)

          by gordo3000 (785698) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @01:11AM (#22303108)
          Aids is a death sentence. you just have to pick your time horizon. people who have been on antiretrovirals for 15 years are now feeling the effects of basically putting a poison in your body daily for so long. they have severe medical problems that are very expensive to treat and find themselves unable to function. 40 year olds look like they are 65 and have health problems on a similar scale. it's just when you die of kidney failure at 45 have 18 years on the drugs, we don't say AIDS killed you, but that is hiding the issue that still exists.
    • by timmarhy (659436)
      god damn it i hate poor people and the people who make excuses for them.

      "poor people who don't know how to use contraception and the like" - ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? if you can figure out how to use your dick, you can figure out how to put on a condom. and cost wise, lets compare patented anti viral drug vs latex.

      LATEX IS WINNER

  • AIDS free world (Score:4, Insightful)

    by qmaqdk (522323) on Monday February 04, 2008 @07:15PM (#22299636)
    If this is true, then it effectively means that the world can be AIDS free in a generation. I'm willing to bet it's not going to happen, though. The drug companies have no interest in this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by snl2587 (1177409)

      Drug companies aside, there's no way this would be used anytime soon in 3rd world countries, so the problem will simply continue to grow there.

      What this needs is widespread proof and then some major government backing. Then, maybe.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dvice_null (981029)
      They only talk about sex. How about drug addicts and dirty needles?
      • Re:AIDS free world (Score:4, Informative)

        by _merlin (160982) on Monday February 04, 2008 @07:47PM (#22300100) Homepage Journal
        Well the major infection vector for AIDS is sex. In Africa, it's primarily heterosexual sex; in Australia it's primarily homosexual sex; in Vietnam it's primarily heterosexual sex. Either way, AIDS is primarily spread by people having sex. Drug addicts and dirty needles is just a tiny blip on the radar for AIDS.
      • They only talk about sex.

        Because in Switzerland, that's the main mode of transmission by which people may catch AIDS.

        How about drug addicts and dirty needles?

        There have been extensive efforts against dirty needles. Drug addicts can easily have access to "Kits" that contain proper sterile equipment (syringes, spoons, citrate, alcohol to clean the injection site, etc). They can either buy it cheaply from pharmacies or receive it for free from some organisation. Such efforts have drastically reduced the occur

    • Small pox? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SpeedyDX (1014595)
      Just like drug companies had no interest in eliminating small pox? There are plenty of diseases to go around, and more of them turn up all the time.

      Admittedly, I'm too young to appreciate the politics that went on when small pox was "eradicated", so it would be nice if anyone can point out what's so different about the small pox issue and the AIDS issue.
      • Re:Small pox? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fabs64 (657132) <beaufabry+slashdot,org&gmail,com> on Monday February 04, 2008 @07:53PM (#22300174)
        Smallpox? You kidding me? The eradication of smallpox was a time of big governments, big non-profits, and a concerted effort for the greater good not for profit.

        Also, back in the late 1700s, someone couldn't patent a scab off of a cows back.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Reverend528 (585549) *

          Also, back in the late 1700s, someone couldn't patent a scab off of a cows back.
          Plus you could test treatments on orphans without the risk of being sued.
      • Re:Small pox? (Score:4, Informative)

        by CatPieMan (460995) on Monday February 04, 2008 @07:57PM (#22300224)
        Small Pox was eradicated due primarily to an immunization effort that spanned the 19th and 20th centuries. Unlike HIV (as far as I am aware), there are two viruses that appear to the human immune system as the same. One causes small pox, the other causes Cow Pox. Essentially, the immunization to small pox is to expose a person to cow pox. They get a feaver for a couple days to a week (along the lines of Chicken Pox), but then become immune to Small Pox.

        With the Small Pox vaccine, once exposed to the alternative, you become immune to Small Pox. HIV is the opposite, once you are exposed, it will kill you.

        As bad as it was, Small Pox was a 20-60% mortality rate (see wikipedia), which is horrible, but there was a chance. HIV is a 100% mortality rate, it just takes a bit longer. If we could find a way to create immunity from HIV, it would die out.

        Most of the treatments for HIV simply extend the person's life, probably with the hope that they live long enough to find a cure. The drugs are not pleasant, and often make the person ill while trying to swallow them.

        I too am too young to really appreciate not having to worry about Small Pox. I'm not even sure I was given the shot, as I was born after it was declared eradicated (1979).
        • Re:Small pox? (Score:5, Informative)

          by stonecypher (118140) <stonecypher@gmai l . com> on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @02:15AM (#22303536) Homepage Journal
          Wow. So much misinformation in one post.

          How can someone think a rate is 20-60%? That's one to three out of five. It doesn't make any sense. Of course, the source you cite is Wikipedia, which you should know better than, except of course that it says 30-35%, not 20-60% like you claim; at that point it's probably more of a question of measurement differences or other fundamental quality of standard measurements between sample populations.

          Smallpox was still active in the 1960s; why you think it was "eradicated in an effort that spanned the 19th and 20th centuries" is beyond me. Maybe you're misreading the "after successful vaccination campaigns" bit in the wikipedia article; this is one of many reasons why reading an encyclopedia article does not match actual knowledge, since what they're talking about are local, single-city eradications. The actual global eradication effort was begun in the early 1950s by PAHO, which Wikipedia incorrectly cites as 1950 (it started in 1952.) The bulk of Smallpox was driven out of the states around the turn of this century, but the last known US case of non-weaponized Smallpox outbreak was in New York State in 1947, and there were isolated rural cases as late as 1965. The actual eradication wasn't certified by WHO until 1980; cases were found in nature in southern Africa until 1977.

          Incidentally, HIV, like Vareola, doesn't have a mortality rate; it's syndromes like AIDS and Smallpox, not diseases like HIV and Vareola, which have mortality rates. If you understood disease you'd know this. Many people with HIV never develop AIDS at all, and live healthy lives until they die from a car accident or cancer or a bolt of lightning or bad heroin or getting mugged. Now, mortality rates aren't just percentages; they're rates. That's why the correct way to say it is "Smallpox has a thirty eight percent chance of mortality per week." This makes a big difference, but what makes a bigger difference is that AIDS itself doesn't actually cause death. Associated infection does. The AIDS mortality rate is ZERO.

          Why does that matter? Because when you start knowing what you're talking about, you find out that the AIDS associated disease mortality rate is widely different between economic, ethnic and social groups. Why? Because that's not one hundred percent either. Hell, there are two known people who have sero-converted so far (meaning their immune system fought back and won, and they're not even carriers anymore.) We have no idea how they did it, but they did. About five percent of people with HIV do not develop AIDS by the twenty year mark, and show no symptoms whatsoever. The median time between infection and symptoms even displaying is now over ten years. There are known human mutations that create HIV resistance, such as CCR5 delta 32.

          You're just rambling about shit you heard. Get off the soapbox. You're full of crap. No disease has a 100 percent mortality rate over any time frame. You're not even measuring using the right kind of units. The AIDS associated opportunistic infection mortality rate in the United States has been 2.21 per 100 per year since 1998, as accepted by the AMA, the WHO and the CDC.

          Two point two percent per year. One hundred? Go read a book, kid, you're lying through your teeth.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Chancey (1095381)

        Unfortunately this does not parallel the smallpox eradication... smallpox was a very unique case as far as human diseases go. First, smallpox was eradicated through the use of vaccines (first produced over 200 years ago [wikipedia.org]), which require only one exposure to prevent a person from getting infected. There were also numerous efforts to eradicate smallpox spanning almost 150 years, and culminating in the massive, coordinated effort from the WHO (World Health Organization, not the band) to eliminate smallpox fro

        • by Gyga (873992)
          HIV would be erradicated if everyone with it would follow the intrests of society and stop having sex/sharing needles/donating blood (not a big problem anymore with testing). What should be done is massive mandatory testing. Test everyone on earth, tell them what they have so that they can not spread it.
    • Re:AIDS free world (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Monday February 04, 2008 @07:38PM (#22299986) Journal
      We've had a cure for tuberculosis for quite some time as well as polio, yet they are still around. TB still kills many people and has become drug resistant, because people don't take their meds on a regular schedule. If you don't take your aids medicine on time ( a more complex drug regimen), you will still be infectious. But none of that is particularly new. The new aspect is that they say that its not contagious when you have been on the regimen for a while.

      Now, the optimistic among us would have hopped that those on drug regimen knew they could spread the disease and modify their behavior accordingly. So this announcement should actually have little affect. If you were doing what the doctors told you to do, you weren't spreading the disease same as before. Maybe this would act as a motivation for some people? But it also might cause people to engage in riskier behavior and compound the issue.
    • I saw an article a year or two ago (Wired, IIRC) that postulated that if you solved AIDS worldwide, you'd have just as many deaths from starvation due to overpopulation. If only it were as simple as solving AIDS, which is, in and of itself, an incredibly hard problem...
    • by DRJlaw (946416)
      If this is true, then it effectively means that the world can be AIDS free in a generation. I'm willing to bet it's not going to happen, though. The drug companies have no interest in this.

      I've been seeing this argument more and more frequently on Slashdot, although not specifically with regard to AIDS.

      None of the conspiracy theorists ever posts any information that leads me to believe that competition has suddenly been suspended in the pharmaceuticals industry, that there's a drug research cabal, or that t
    • by timmarhy (659436)
      "The drug companies have no interest in this."

      oh no not this old chestnut. drug companies don't give a fuck if they cure an illness and no longer have to sell drugs to fight it, because there's about 100000000000000000 other illnesses out there for them to work on.

      the myth that drug companys prefer to treat rather then cure is something moronic anti globalism nutcases perpetuate.

  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Monday February 04, 2008 @07:15PM (#22299654) Journal
    Can you imagine the shitstorm that would ensue if they're wrong? It takes a whole lot of balls to not just put your reputation on the line like this, but the lives of thousands of people too. I really hope they're right.
    • by bagboy (630125)
      >>Can you imagine the shitstorm that would ensue if they're wrong? Not to mention the number of people claiming to have been treated for a one-nighter, yet never received any treatment. How would you verify? (See first post.)
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

      by VGR (467274) on Monday February 04, 2008 @07:36PM (#22299972)

      They covered their bases. This is one of the most informative and honest articles I've seen in a long time. They make a point of saying, more than once, that they're not positive a treated person is not infectious, but their certainty is equal to the certainty with which the scientific community asserted in 1986 that kissing cannot spread HIV (an assertion that continues to hold up to this day).

      Interestingly, they are not recommending the treatment for widespread use, because many people have trouble rigorously adhering to a treatment schedule, and even a little slip in the treatment could result in the creation of a resistant strain of HIV. I'd hate to be the doctor who has to pass that judgement: "Before I treat you, how do I know you won't skip an occasional treatment, thereby creating a scourge of humankind that's even harder to treat than the HIV we have now?"

      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anti_Climax (447121) on Monday February 04, 2008 @08:49PM (#22300884)
        I've been trying to find a copy of the article for a while, but I seem to remember someone publishing a write up about "Curing" HIV with anti-retroviral therapy.

        Essentially it went like this: By *religiously* adhering to a multi-drug cocktail treatment (3-4 drugs targeting different portions of the viral replication cycle) over the course of 3-4 years the free virus particles would be filtered out of the body by the lymph nodes and T-Cells at varying stages of infection would be broken down, leaving a person HIV free. They would still test as HIV positive as they would still have the antibodies in their bloodstream, but they would no longer be infectious or subject to relapse.

        Obviously starting treatment when still healthy would be preferable, like Magic Johnson did. He was diagnosed with HIV about 3 years after my Father was. Magic Johnson is still alive and healthy 16 years later, but my dad died almost 15 years ago.

        There was also a "Morning After" treatment that showed promise for preventing infection after likely exposure to HIV. It was an 8 week course of drugs similar to chemotherapy but, if completed, had a significant success at preventing infection.

        It's good to see they're still working toward these ends, hopefully they can stop it fairly soon.
    • by jd (1658)
      HIV mutates fast and confusingly. De-activated HIV, for the purpose of creating a vaccine, can - and has - reactivated itself. HIV is not always immediately detectable - many methods use detection of antibodies, so those with a damaged immune system may carry the virus and be considered negative with such tests. This may have happened with a group of women in Africa who appeared to be immune to the virus (they remained negative, despite repeated exposure to the virus) but then some of them started dying fro
  • by crovira (10242) on Monday February 04, 2008 @07:16PM (#22299664) Homepage
    but it does make life possible for those around you.

    I sucks but its a step in the right direction. (But will any company take the next step; after all, once YOU're dead, the disease is eradicated.)

    Sucks to think like an actuary...
  • by thePsychologist (1062886) on Monday February 04, 2008 @07:21PM (#22299762) Journal
    It's in the article but non-infectious here does not mean it's impossible for HIV transmission during sex. It's only improbable and of course the probability of transfer is unknown - as even in the studies done with these drugs other protection measures were used (of course). Furthermore this is not new; rather it's a statement made by a few experts based on older research. The statement is meant to be a standard taken throughout the healthcare world.
  • the Swiss Federal Commission for HIV / AIDS resolves that, 'An HIV-infected person on antiretroviral therapy with completely suppressed viraemia ("effective ART") is not sexually infectious, i.e. cannot transmit HIV through sexual contact

    I can remember also that newspaper were promoting Extasy as a new social drug with no side effects, marijuana as a healthy habit, Avian Flu as doom of the world and RIAA protecting artists revenues... yeah right, I'll keep this news in that space in my mind...

  • From where I stand, AIDS could eventually be a species killer like in 'I am Legend'. Considering no one who contracts this virus survives.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Probably not, barring some kind of major mutation. 1. It's hard to transmit, requiring sexual or blood contact. A significant portion, maybe even a majority, of the American population for example is in monogamous relationships and doesn't do drugs. 2. Its slow to spread. Before you get AIDS, you get HIV, and sometimes HIV never really develops into AIDS, other times it takes decades. In either case the specimen has ample time to reproduce. Even if HIV mutates to overcome both of those things, in the
    • From where I stand, AIDS could eventually be a species killer like in 'I am Legend'. Considering no one who contracts this virus survives.
      Not going to happen anymore, we are "managing" this disease now. Checking the Global Trends graph, the number of people "living with aids" [avert.org] seems to be levelling off.
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)
      No disease can be a species killer, barring really unlikely specialist ones like the (fictional) one in I Am Legend that are incredibly infectious but DON'T kill you yet leave you sterile.

      HIV is a very well adapted virus. It lives in harmony with it's host for a long period of time, allowing plenty of time for spread and lots of time for reproduction (to ensure a good supply of hosts). Ebola is a very poorly adapted virus (in humans). It kills much too quickly to spread far. Fortunately it is well adapt
  • by r_jensen11 (598210) on Monday February 04, 2008 @07:38PM (#22299990)
    Is it just sexually? What about blood transfusions? What about sharing needles?

    AIDS is spreading rapidly in different parts of the world by different means. In Africa and India/Asia, it's spreading because of unprotected sex. In eastern Europe and Russia, it's being spread predominately from dirty needles used for drugs.
  • by TurinPT (1226568) on Monday February 04, 2008 @08:13PM (#22300414)
    Scientists come up with a device to make HIV patients non-infections.
    This scientific breakthrough will bring hope to millions of people infected with the virus.
    Sources indicate it will be named 'condom'.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by rjhubs (929158)
      condoms break.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by madbrain (11432)
        Why was this moderated troll ? Just because the moderator doesn't have sex often enough to have statistically experienced or witnessed this ? Oh, I forgot this is slashdot.

        Newsflash, condoms do break occasionally. They also slip.
        The below study shows a 2% rate of failure per condom, and 2.7% per person.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8070546 [nih.gov]
  • It's cheap, small, easily mass-produced, easy to use, 100% effective... It's called a CONDOM.

    How I wish the various religious groups and governments would endorse proper sex education and provision of a plentiful supply of condoms, instead of pushing the abstinence only bulls---, which has completely failed.

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