Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Preventing HIV infection with drugs

Apparently there was a study recently on a potential HIV-preventative drug that found it could be up to 90% effective for preventing new infections if taken daily. However, a very large number of the participants who were given the drug to take daily during the study failed to do so, and some contracted HIV as a result. Despite this, the scientists were able to create a statistical model based on the amount of the drug present in blood samples in the trial group.

So here's my question. You (hypothetically) have been identified as an individual at risk of HIV infection due to your lifestyle, and you agree to participate in a drug trial for the prevention of that fatal infection. You are provided with the drug for free, plus education on how to reduce your risk of infection via other means, then you go home, go out, neglect to take the potentially life-saving drug, engage in exactly the same risky behaviours as before and get HIV. You will now die.

I'm stunned by this. Really. If I were the scientist administering the study, the first person in the trial group who showed no detectable levels of the drug in their system plus an HIV infection would have gotten a sharp dope-slap to the head. The second person maybe a disapproving glare. From the third onwards, a resigned sigh.

The only thing I can think is that these people are so hopelessly lost to themselves that they didn't see the point in trying to prevent infection and prolonging their lives anyway. And now that I've come to that realisation, it makes me sad. To think that there are people so lost and hopeless in the world that they don't really care if they live or die. It's heartbreaking.

Please, if you're prescribed life-saving medication because your doctor thinks it's a good idea, even if you're too depressed to care if it works, please take it. Please. It would be a tragedy to the world if you were to die, as much as it is a tragedy for anyone else to die.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Well, it's either depression or the "it's treatable" mindset.
PPS - Treatment should be a last resort. An ounce of prevention, etc.

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