Top Ten Health Care Breakthroughs of 2010

Side Note: As many news and media organizations like to do at the end of a year and the beginning of a new one, Time magazine has issued their Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs of 2010. The list covers many different areas of medicine from pharmacology to cellular biology to infertility.

One of the most interesting discoveries this year was that the antiretroviral drug, Truvada, which is used to treat HIV infection, was found to lower the risk of contracting HIV. In a major study of 2,500 HIV-negative, high-risk, gay men, spanning six countries, Truvada was shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by 44 percent compared to a placebo. (This number was even higher in men who faithfully took the medication, reducing infection by 73 percent.) But, public health experts are quick to warn that safe sex is still the best method of prevention –specifically, because the antiretroviral drug does not act as a vaccine, it simply acts as a pre-exposure prophylaxis, by loading the system with medication to hit the HIV as soon as possible.

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Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs
1. AIDS Drugs Lower the Risk of HIV Infection
By Alice Park, Time, Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Antiretroviral drugs have turned the AIDS epidemic around, by thwarting the virus in HIV-positive patients. But new research suggests that this powerful treatment may have another benefit — as a weapon against infection in healthy individuals.

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