The disease AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and it’s severe symptoms has caused to get organizations and/or administrations: FDA( Food and Drug Administration) NIH( National Institutes of Health program) and TAG ( Treatment Action Group) concerned and alarmed during the epidemic’s crisis. The increase in efforts made has resulted in a drastic change when it comes to treatment provisions and care for diagnosed patients in need of medical attention. The early ’80s was the height of the AIDS epidemic and was a time of nothing but fear and anxiety.
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Not only was the gay community affected, but it was discovered that it was transmitted to anyone who would engage in unprotected Vaginal/Anal intercourse, using an infected needle or syringe, or even to a pregnant woman HIV positive who’s given birth to her newborn child. The odds of getting AIDS in the early 1980’s were tremendous. (the chances were)
It was on June 5, 1981 when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that a group of five gay men in Los Angeles who died of a rare form of pneumonia called ‘Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia’ (PCP). (Positive Health Publications, Inc) The very understanding of AIDS/HIV was a complete mystery that had no solution. At the time it didn’t even have a name and since most of the victims were gay, this disease was called “”Gay cancer or “”Gay related Immune Disorder (GRID). It was only until researchers soon realized the new disease was not gay specific. The name AIDS ( Acquired Immune Deficiency) was then adopted. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by promising to the safety, effectiveness, security of human and disease preventing treatments. It took seven years after the HIV discovery to have them approve the first drug to fight this tedious disease. In those initial anxious years of the epidemic, millions were diagnosed. A couple thousand had died at that point, and public health officials were racing to keep that death rate from spiking the inevitable results of people who tested positive that weren’t treated with anything useful.
As it turned out, their first weapon against HIV wasn’t a new compound scientists had to develop from scratch, it was one that was already on the shelf, Azidothymidine. Azidothymidine also known as AZT. It was originally developed in the 1960s by a U.S. researcher as they way to thwart cancer. The compound was supposed to insert itself into the DNA of a cancer cell and target its ability to replicate and produce more tumor cells. Unfortunately, it did not work when it was tested in mice and was put aside. Two decades later after AIDS emerged as a new infectious disease, the pharmaceutical company Burroughs Wellcome began a massive test of potential anti HIV agents. As they were hoping to find anything that might work against this new viral challenge, compounds was discovered. Compounds was a newly improved version of the original AZT. When it was thrown into a dish with animal cells infected with HIV, it seemed to block the virus’s activity. This effort did not help cure AIDS, but made it more tolerable to manage.The alternative left patients with hope rather than medications that delivered bad side effects and left patients with a short life span to live.
The FDA is a very essential Administration that helped patients not only live longer, but comfortably with not having to worry about the struggles. Over the last decade, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has experienced a steep decline in the buying power of investments in biomedical research overall and, parallel to it, for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) related research specifically. (Institute Of Medicine Committee 1991) Individuals were willing to participate in research for a cure which includes exploring analytic treatment interruptions. After having many treatments approved, the NIH, also known as the US National Institutes of Health, had to reach the next step which was to participate in clinical research. This clinical research conducted by doctors and physicians was done to understand the disease so that patients can see if the medication is successful or not. Being that these patients were considered human research subjects, a tremendous amount of ethics and other responsibilities came along with performing this type research. NIH has a rather novel and unique way of structuring and funding it’s clinical research on HIV which is through a ‘Network Structure’. A Network Structure starts from the top where the scientists and physicians who are leading the network get together and decide what are the highest priority questions that need to be addressed and then design procedures or protocols to evaluate those questions in people. Later on, the research group’s participation will lead to changes into improving public health in the U.S and the world. (Salbu 1994) The NIH is different from the FDA in this way.
The FDA’s job was to approve of the medication for the patient’s, meanwhile NIH was responsible for evaluating the patients and the outcome of the medication. The NIH wanted to make sure that every patient was in the correct state of mind in order to continue taking the treatment that they were prescribed. This process was efficient because the NIH also contacted any medical industry and recruited the patients to different organizations. This made sure everyone who was being taken care of had medical supervision. A group of activists, also known as ACT UP then shortly formed TAG from AIDS coalition to Unleash their Power. This helped accelerate HIV drug approval by the FDA, increasing community engagement in clinical trials conducted by the NIH, and fighting industries to reduce drug prices; as well as demanding innovative expanded access programs for individuals with AIDS unable to enter clinical trials of life saving experimental medication. Congress was appropriating funds for AIDS research by 1992. TAG then pursued two initial strategies to address the apparently unstoppable disease.
The first strategy was to rectify institutional failures at the NIH by examining its research investment in detail and proposing more effective ways to ensure progress. The second was to advocate for the movement beyond drug development and clinical trials to the basic science. Regarding to this strategy, there are critically unanswered questions about HIV’s damage to the immune system that if understood, it can lead the way to better therapies, and eventually a cure and a vaccine. As above, not only did these Administrations improve throughout time, but they also made a huge change throughout future and made the impossible possible. If everyone just unites and puts their efforts in such a hard time like this epidemic, this will benefit many people, not just physically, but emotionally. These three organizations were all divisioned to do their own tasks differently but they all worked and still are working to end the epidemic and made the world more comfortable for the diagnosed patients with the extensive support from treating AIDS. AIDS will always be there but the epidemic and the humiliation will not thanks to these three organizations out of many more.
Cohen, Jon. “”Vaccine Studies Stymied by Shortage of Animals. Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 11 Feb. 2000, < science.sciencemag.org/content/287/5455/959.>Accessed 13 Nov. 2018. Harrington, Mark. “”TAG at 20: Early Campaigns.
Accessed on 13 Nov. 2018. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee “”The AIDS Research Program of the National Institutes of Health OpenBook, 1991Accessed 13 Nov. 2018.
Murray, Jeffrey “”Press Announcements – FDA Approves New HIV Treatment for Patients Who Have Limited Treatment Options. U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research 6 March, 2006.
Accessed 13 Nov. 2018. Salbu,Steven “”Regulation of Drug Treatments for HIV and AIDS: a Contractarian Model of Access, 1994 Accessed 13 Nov. 2018. Walensky, et al. “”Focusing National Institutes Of Health HIV/AIDS Research for Maximum Population Impact. OUP Academic, Oxford Academic, 24 Nov. 2014 Accessed 13 Nov. 2018. “
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