Read All About It

A quick blog post tonight. Post-gym fatigue is making writing these blog posts on Tuesday evenings more difficult! I also received a great invitation from Saving Lives UK today to start blogging with them as one of their Positive People following from the ‘My Story’ I wrote at the end of last year. Saving plenty of my ideas for my first post with them!

A couple of news articles caught my eye this week, the first one regarding public perception of how HIV can be contracted and the second about generic HIV medicines.

The National AIDS Trust carried out a survey on World AIDS Day and found that 46% of the people surveyed believed it was possible to catch HIV by being bitten or spat at. I completely agree with their Chief Execs opinion that this is damaging for people living with the virus. It feeds the stigma surrounding the virus. I wasn’t particularly surprised by the news: there is simply not enough put in place to educate people in the UK, or globally for that matter.

Countless politicians make empty promises that they want more to be done in order to combat HIV but they don’t deliver. Children and adults are fed stereotypes about the virus from memories of the 80s epidemic or badly written articles in the press. People HAVE forgotten about this virus, people view HIV as a problem of the past and this delusion needs to end now or we are going to see increasing numbers of people contracting HIV: not just within the high risk groups but across a wider demographic.

As part of a commitment to aid those living with the virus we need access to medication that works. The BBC comments on news from the journal Annals of Internal Medicine that generic HIV medicines could save the US health care system $1bn and no doubt the NHS is keeping an eye on its own budget as it faces its own financial demands. We are about to witness some very big changes in the NHS and we need to make sure that we continue to be provided with medication that is researched well and works.

These generic drugs will also provide other issues for the patients that need them, they’re likely to have to take more pills on a daily basis and some doctors have concerns that patients may be more likely to miss doses and this could lead to an increase in resistance to the generic medication. Having an undetectable viral load is one of the simplest ways of reducing the ease in which HIV can spread, it is imperative that this is not compromised by the introduction of cheap drugs that may not work as effectively. We should not put a price tag on the health of the nation but only time will tell if the NHS is able to resist temptations of how they treat those living with HIV or whether we will be an afterthought to its bottom line.

Edit: I’ve seen that the beeb article made quite an impact on Twitter and a lot of people are now sceptical about how accurate all the details within it are. I’m not going to change the post because regardless of the article, I still believe we are looking at a future where we may face the dangers I’ve mentioned regardless whether it’s from generic drugs or potential penny pinching elsewhere.

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