Group 4 Assessment

HIV in Brooklyn: Incidence of the disease based on Ethnicity, Age and Culture

The Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is an infection that progressively affects the immunological system of individuals impacting the lymphoid and immunologic organs and leading to the acquisition of opportunistic diseases and cancer.  It is transmitted by contact of body fluids containing high levels of viral particles, such as: blood, semen, pre-ejaculatory fluids, vaginal secretions and breast milk.  During our group activity we learned that the best preventive measures rely on avoiding contact with these fluids by adopting safe practices like sex abstinence, condom use, preventing blood-contaminated contact, not nursing if sero positive, among others.  The fact is that although preventive and surveillance programs are readily available, every day more people sero convert.  For this reason, the scientific community is constantly looking for new methods to prevent HIV sero conversion and new treatments to improve the quality of life of those that acquire the virus.

A new method proposed for prevention is pre-exposure prophylaxis.   It relies on the administration of HIV treatment medication to a population that it is HIV negative, but is at a high risk of getting the virus.   A few weeks ago the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections was held at Seattle, WA.  At this conference the results of several clinical trials related to HIV prevention where presented.  The links found below will take you to New York Times articles that summarize the studies and their findings.

After accessing the articles, please think about the following questions:

Would you consider the study effective for HIV prevention?

Can the drug substitute for all the other preventive measures previously promoted?

Are there any ethical issues involved in these studies?  Why one of the studies was cancelled earlier?

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