HIV, short for the human immunodeficiency viruses, consisting of two species of Lentivirus viruses, is responsible for causing HIV infection, one of the most serious blood-borne infections known to modern man. If not treated soon enough, which costs many tens of thousands of dollars each year – HIV infection treatment is an ongoing treatment that is carried out over the life of people who suffer from the disease and is unable to be cured through a course of drugs lasting two to three months, the length of time required for Hepatitis C to be treated, for example – victims develop AIDS, short for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, characterized by the very much increased likelihood of developing other infections that can cause serious health outcomes their own, as well as cancerous tumors.
AIDS is always a fatal disease if it’s not treated with antiretroviral drugs, which are currently the only class of drugs proven to reduce the prevalence of the two known human immunodeficiency viruses in victims’ bloodstreams to the point that HIV is highly unlikely to be transmitted to other people and the progression of the disease is essentially stopped in its scary, life-changing tracks.
Currently, the go-to treatment for HIV infection, according to the United Nations’ world-class public health agency, the World Health Organization (WHO), is a three-fold combination of dolutegravir, lamivudine, and tenofovir – the first drug, dolutegravir, belongs to the integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI) family, whereas the last two, lamivudine and tenofovir, belong to the family of nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, also called RTIs.
PrEP, short for pre-exposure prophylaxis, is the practice of using drugs to prevent HIV infection in people who haven’t yet been exposed to the two Lentiviruses responsible for the eventually-fatal blood-borne disease.
The WHO currently suggests that Truvada, a combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine, or Descovy, a combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide, are the top two available combinations of drugs for pre-exposure prophylaxis, most commonly called PrEP in practice.
Recently, earlier today, on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, the United States Department of Health and Human Services announced that PrEP would be provided for free to Americans without insurance who are most at risk of acquiring the two human immunodeficiency viruses and developing the HIV infection.
Although some activists think this measure isn’t going far enough, the move is part of a plan known as Ending the HIV Epidemic plan that was announced earlier this year and is slated to cut the rate of HIV transmission by up to 90 percent within 10 years – by 2030.