Josh Krellenstein is an HIV activist and founder of BreakThePatent, a group that is attempting to force Gilead Science to lower the price and release the patent information for PrEP, a drug that is commonly taken by homosexuals and lauded as the new “miracle drug” for HIV. PrEP, which is HIV antiviral medication, is taken by homosexuals who do not have HIV in order that they can engage in high risk sexual activity with, according to activists such as him, a “greater than 99%” chance of not catching the virus in the event they are exposed to a person who has HIV:
On July 3, 1981, this newspaper wrote about a “rare cancer” killing gay men in New York and California. Though few knew it, what followed would be a generation-defining battle: for attention, for legitimacy, for our very lives. Today, after 37 years, we finally have a proven pathway to ending the AIDS epidemic in this country.
The only catch? Poor policy and pharmaceutical price-gouging have blocked the way, making critical drugs a luxury rather than an imperative.
The solution comes in a pill: Taken daily, Truvada, the brand name for a type of pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is up to 99 percent effective at preventing H.I.V. infection. Used as directed, it’s one of the most effective methods of preventing a viral infection ever discovered, as good as the polio vaccine, the miracle of modern medicine. When you combine PrEP’s effectiveness with the discovery that people living with H.I.V. cannot transmit the virus to others once they become undetectable, we could be on the verge of a swift end to the epidemic.
Truvada was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012. But over six years later, the United States is failing miserably in expanding its use. Less than 10 percent of the 1.2 million Americans who might benefit from PrEP are actually getting it. The major reason is quite clear: pricing. With a list price over $20,000 a year, Truvada, the only PrEP drug available in the United States, is simply too expensive to become the public health tool it should be.
Gilead Sciences, the company that makes Truvada, maintains a monopoly on the drug domestically. In other countries, a one-month supply of generic Truvada costs less than $6, but Gilead charges Americans, on average, more than $1,600, a markup from the generic of 25,000 percent.
Infuriatingly, American taxpayers and private charities — not Gilead — paid for almost all of the clinical research used to develop Truvada as PrEP. Yet the price stays out of reach for millions, and will for at least several more years.
The disparities in PrEP access are astounding: Its use in black and Hispanic populations is a small fraction of that among whites. In the South, where a majority of H.I.V. infections occur, use is half what it is in the Northeast. Women use PrEP at drastically lower rates than men, and while there’s no national data on PrEP and transgender Americans, it’s almost certainly underused. The issue of PrEP access has become an issue of privilege.
The ability of PrEP to greatly reduce new H.I.V. infections is no longer in question. In New South Wales, Australia, a program providing free access to PrEP led to a drop in H.I.V. diagnoses in the most vulnerable communities by a third in just six months, one of the fastest declines recorded since the global AIDS crisis began.
So how can we import such progress into the United States? Faced with more than half a decade of inaction by the federal government, activists have developed their own national strategy to begin the end of the H.I.V. epidemic. At the International AIDS Conference later this month, our organization, the PrEP4All Collaboration, will release its plan for a national PrEP program to ensure all Americans who need PrEP can get it.
A critical component of this plan is insisting that federal agencies use their statutory authority to break Gilead’s undeserved monopoly. With low-price, generic Truvada, the cost to cover every American who needs PrEP — including both drug costs and clinical care — would be less than a tenth the amount that the federal government already spends on H.I.V. care. The billions saved could pay for vital services to ensure those who need PrEP the most can get it and those living with H.I.V. can keep the virus suppressed. If the patent on Truvada remains, the plan will cost over $20 billion.
In addition to preventing more than 10,000 new H.I.V. infections a year, a national PrEP program would connect some of the most vulnerable in our communities to care. Frequent screening — a required component of PrEP care — could decrease rates of other sexually transmitted infections through prompt treatment, even if rates of condom use decrease.
In under 40 years, we’ve lost more Americans to H.I.V. than to combat in all of our wars combined. Science has delivered answers, but Gilead’s greed and the government’s inaction are keeping it from those who need it most. There’s a pill that stops H.I.V. We can make it possible for everyone who needs that pill to get it. (source)
Krellenstein phrases this as a veritable human rights issue. What is overlooked is that this is the preparation for an HIV crisis worse than anything the world has seen yet.
The proof of this comes from drug-resistant bacterial infection.
Penicillin was discovered in 1928, and over the next 40 years many other antibiotics would be discovered. However, due to overuse, especially in the agricultural industry where animal feed is commonly fortified with antibiotics, some of the bacteria that used to be killed by antibiotics have developed a resistance to it so that the antibiotics do not work any more. Perhaps the most acute problem with this is drug-resistant tuberculosis, which is most pronounced in the former nations of the Soviet Union, including Central Asia but increasingly China and parts of the Middle East.
In terms of STDs, a major threat is drug-resistant gonorrhea, which appearing in Thailand and the Philippines, has only one more drug that is still effective against it. As CNN notes, while it affects heterosexuals and the LGBT alike, the LGBT has been particularly affected due to their well-known affinity for sodomy and other kinds of unnatural behavior.
If this has happened with a bacteria, why can’t a virus mutate the same way?
The fact is, that HIV already has mutated just like this, with a new form of HIV that is resistant to the current drug cocktail the LGBT uses.
This is why Krellenstein’s statement is curious about it reducing the possibility of HIV transmission to less than 1%. Even the New York Times admitted years ago this was not true.
What happens if a strain of HIV mutates again?
What happens if the medicine is ineffective?
We know for a fact that the homosexuals engage in risky behavior, such as potentially exposing and contracting HIV and then transmitting it to others as a sexual fetish which they call “bug chasing”. Right now, many homosexuals are “secure” that PrEP is the cure-all for preventing HIV.
We know that HIV has mutated once already.
So many are “secure” in their thinking.
Yet it is always at that moment when the ground falls out from under a man.
Beware, because if the past history of mutations from bacteria and viruses is true, it is only a matter of time- maybe a decade- before the next major HIV crisis.