Michael Weinstein has an interesting column up about the potential of PrEP, the pre-exposure medication regimen that recently showed some potential to slow the spread of HIV:
The potential use of this drug is based on the premise that we cannot succeed in getting gay men to use condoms. Have we really made a wholehearted effort to do this? Are condoms readily available in bars, bathhouses and other meeting spots? Are they advertised on TV? Do our political, religious and community leaders speak out for protecting gay men from HIV? The answer in each case is no.
The rates of HIV infection in tolerant places in the world, like Holland, are one-sixth what they are in the U.S. Partner reduction, delay of sexual debut, faithfulness and condom use, combined with political will, have brought HIV rates down in such diverse places as Cambodia, Brazil, Northern Europe and Senegal.
Another question: Who will pay for this pre-exposure treatment? Today, almost 5,000 Americans who are already HIV-positive are on waiting lists for lifesaving medications. The minimum these new drugs will cost in the U.S. market is $10,000 per person per year. Will insurance companies cover them for preventive use? Will they cover HIV medications when the preventive drug fails?
It's a strange outgrowth of America's and the West's growing income inequality: instead of looking for ways to use solutions that already exist, we focus on technology to expand the number of solutions already available. And no where does this come off as more ridiculous than with communicable diseases.