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HIV Medication Ads
May 25, 2008

This whole lipodystrophy issue is a joke and all most of you do is try to appease us by saying new drugs may not have the same side effects... but how does that help the people who are dealing with it now.... Telling us that we will not get our fat restored, or most of it, is very disheartening and makes us care less about what meds come out in the future.

How come the ads I see all over NYC, re. HIV Medications, show beautiful, shirtless models? This is totally false advertising and I'd love for them to show someone suffering from lipo-side effects. I personally feel that this may be a great way to eradicate this virus. The greed of these pharmaceutical companies, et al, is amazing.

Dom

Response from Dr. DeJesus

Hi Dom. It is a loaded question, so I will just take a bite at it.

After a big controversy about the use of uninfected people by companies on their ads a few years ago, HIV companies are currently using people really infected with HIV for their ad campaigns; although no one can tell if the models are indeed talking the medication that they are advertising, because this is still private personal individual medical information.

Regarding lipoatrophy, years of research and investigation have narrowed the culprit for lipodystrophy to a handful of medications. So, new drugs in development (and recently approved) are put under a significant amount of scrutiny before they are released to ensure they will not cause this problem. So the ads on lipoatrophy you are seeing with the use of new drugs are probably accurate in terms of not causing this particular problem.

Treatment for HIV as you now requires a combination of several medications, so if someone is taking one of the newest drugs, but it is combined with one of the old ones -- known to cause this lipodystrophy problem-- then the benefit of the new medication in preventing lipoatrophy is lost. Unfortunately for somewhat who has already developed lipoatrophy these new drugs rarely or modestly at best can revert this problem.

I understand and respect your negative feelings toward Big Pharma; on the other hand, --and not intending on defending them--this is the same industry that has made possible the development of the many agents we currently have available to treat this infection; and for patients starting treatment now, prevent this devastating lipoatrophy complication. This industry is also looking for treatments that can potentially revert this lipoatrophy for patients already suffereing from it, but the few drug candidates on study yield just mild improvements. Research in this field still continues.

Thank you Dom for posting your interesting question.



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