Last week, the FDA approved a new drug to combat AIDS that is expected to help in the global fight against the virus. The new drug combines three of the most widely used AIDS treatments into a once-a-day pill. Traditionally, AIDS patients take a variety of drugs at varying times throughout the day to combat the effects of the virus. By simplifying treatment options, patients are more likely to stick to their drug regimen and less likely to develop drug-resistant AIDS strains (which can occur if a patient misses just five percent of their recommended drug doses).
People were talking about once-a-day as a magical, wonderful, far-off moment," said Craig Thompson, executive director of AIDS Project Los Angeles. "It was one of those things we were waiting for, and we've done a great job in getting there."
The FDA says the drug will be available as part of President Bush's $15 billion effort to combat AIDS in the developing world. In other positive news for global AIDS treatment, Gilead, one of the makers of the new drug, plans to slash prices for its other AIDS drugs for middle-income countries, such as Mexico. In a press release praising Gilead's move, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation argues that with all the attention focused on combating AIDS in the developing world, middle-income countries are often left paying the U.S. price tag for AIDS treatment, a price they can rarely afford.
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