December #87 : Fix Is In? - by Angela Garcia

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Baby Love

Fuzeon Fever

Artists With (out) a Cause

Wash 'n' Bear

Adoption Option

Make It a Date

Beijing Surprise

Apocalypse Now

Loan Shark

Fund Frisk

A Tempest in a T Cell

Slim Picks

Fat Skinny

Break Time

Straight Forward

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Steppin' Positive


Cinema Variety

Daddy's Dearest

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'Tis the Season

Publisher's Letter


In Vogue

Star Power

‘Tis the Season


Saving It

Getting Cheeky

Fix Is In?

Say What?

Cash Flown!

Full-Frontal Face

Wisdom Of The Ages


Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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December 2002

Fix Is In?

by Angela Garcia

Here in THE LAND of milk and honey, the rate of HIV transmission from moms to babes has dropped to under 2 percent. Not so in resource-strapped settings such as South Africa, where 30 percent of HIVers’ newborns inherit the virus. Now, a WHO-backed bunch of prevention experts is floating a quick fix: “universal” short-course nevirapine (Viramune) for all preggers—even those who have not been tested.

This cut-to-the-chase use of antiretrovirals bypasses the standard rigamarole of counseling, testing and an HIV diagnosis. Already being studied among mothers-to-be in Botswana and Zambia, the measure is likely to spark controversy before it spreads across the developing world.

While most experts agree that it’s a no-brainer—low risk, high benefits, plus it’s free from Boehringer Ingelheim—opponents raise two objections. First, a single dose can, in theory, cause Mom to develop non-nuke resistance. Second, this magic bullet could sabotage the campaign for universal testing. So for now, bigwigs like Arthur Ammann, MD, head of Global Health Strategies for HIV Prevention, view it as “a temporary solution while we work toward implementing the proper thing to do.”

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