NIH plans to buy drugs to fight AIDS outbreak, now that the infection rate is falling

Officials at the National Institutes of Health are planning to acquire large supplies of the drug keto-19, the most common anti-HIV drug to treat the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS, in order to help prevent an HIV outbreak.

“Prevention of an outbreak and the treatment of survivors are interrelated,” Terri Hope Allen, a principal in the office of strategic planning at the agency, wrote in an email. “Prevention includes both the prevention of infection and the suppression of the virus.”

There have been outbreaks of HIV and other diseases in people with HIV who receive treatment. Many of those outbreaks, however, are small and cannot be prevented.

In this case, for the U.S. government, the goal is to better prepare for outbreaks.

According to an internal draft of a proposed Ebola and other Health Emergency Preparedness Regulations, which is part of a larger series of regulations that aim to improve overall effectiveness of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if an HIV outbreak does occur, it’s likely that most of the infected people will get treatment within the first few days after they develop symptoms.

Coverage of the draft regulations does not name the proposed drug, but individual sections list the specific drugs or treatments that are being considered.

Those drugs will not have a bad effect on the lives of people who are HIV-positive, Allen wrote. The measure would essentially help the United States to become immune to a large outbreak.

The draft regulations also require federal agencies to conduct a national plan to provide insurance coverage for drugs not covered by Medicaid, as federal law requires in order to discourage patients from having price spikes or other forms of profit-making.

Allen said that the agency is currently reviewing public comments. A final version of the regulations will be released before the end of the year.

The proposed regulation can be found here.

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