Published on July 26, 2007
Dr Somyos Kittimunkhong, chief of the Aids Division Bureau at the Disease Control Department, said more than 10 medications both for treatment and prevention had been introduced at the conference. He said some treatments sounded very promising and he would recommend that the ministry take part in research projects.
The conference, hosted by the International Aids Society (IAS), concluded yesterday with the so-called Sydney Declaration signed by more than 1,500 scientists, clinicians, policy-makers and community leaders from 133 countries.
Besides urging donors to allocate 10 per cent of their HIV resources to research, the declaration encouraged world governments and organisations to shift strategy in the fight against Aids from treatment to prevention.
The need for a strong commitment to prevention programmes became the theme of the IAS conference this year. Participants were told that while many countries could provide treatment to their citizens and millions of people living with HIV/Aids have been saved thanks to cheap and generic versions of anti-retroviral drugs, millions of others are newly infected with the virus every year.
"We must do more to protect our future, to find better ways to treat the youngest among us and to pursue integrated prevention strategies grounded in behaviour change and biomedical science," said IAS president Dr Pedro Cahn.
Somyos said that among prevention medications discussed, a treatment from Gilead Science garnered the interest of many countries, including Thailand, as scientists had recently found that a medicine used to treat HIV patients might protect healthy people from catching the virus.
The treatment - called Truvada - is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for HIV patients. However, scientists found that healthy people who took one tablet a day appeared to have become immune from infection.
According to Somyos, many countries have taken part in research projects using Truvada as a preventative medication. He expects that the initial results of the trials will come out by next year.
"If the outcome sounds promising we will take part in further research," he said.
Somyos added that he would soon report to the Thai authorities and prepare for a trial that might take place here.