[I wrote this back in July, and lost it before posting. But it's important to think about, still.]
NPR, this morning, decided to talk about AIDS. Apparently, one of the global health organizations (WHO, I think, but I wasn't listening closely enough to be sure) is recommending increasing use of anti-retroviral drugs to curb AIDS in Africa. The piece was focused on South Africa, which has the largest AIDS population, and talked about potential health benefits and challenges (mostly supply shortages and distribution) to the program.
But one thing mentioned in there struck a chord; they mentioned that anyone going on the drugs would be taking it for the rest of their life. And that got me thinking. Are there preparations for the virus mutating to become immune to the drug cocktails used? Are they still working on drugs to actually kill HIV?
(Part of this is spurred by seeing where we are with TB, in that it has become immune to nearly all antibiotics, and nothing else is in the pipeline. So TB is well on its way to being a major health threat again, and, as near as I can tell, nothing is being done about it (at least, nothing in terms of new antibiotics).
This is another problem coming out of drug companies realizing that there is far more money to be made in disease management than in disease cure. I'm really not sure how to alleviate that, but it is desperately needed.)