Sunday, 20 January 2013


Anti-Retroviral Drugs

Human Immunodeficiency Virus-HIV that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was first clinically discovered in 1981 in United States and since then it has claimed several lives. There are currently 34.2 million people around the world that live with the virus according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The origin of HIV has been shrouded in a lot of mysteries. There are several conspiracy theories that have come up to try and explain how the virus came to being however, none of them has been proven. One of the theories alleges that the virus was actually manufactured in a lab by scientists from the colonists. According to this school of thought, the aim of the colonists was to wipe out clean inhabitants of Africa so that they could take over the resources. Perhaps that may explain the high rates of infection in the African continent as compared with other continents. However, no evidence has been produced to support the claims. The other theory suggests that the virus might have come from Chimps and significant research has been done to prove this-actually there is a resemblance between Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) found in Chimpanzees and HIV.
The search for HIV/AIDS cure has been ongoing since the first case of infection was discovered. Scientists around the world have been cracking their heads to find the cure to this virus. After years of intensive research, 1987, the first Anti-Retroviral drug was produced, AZT debuts. This was a major breakthrough in medical research given that the patients died within a relatively shorter time. The Anti-Retroviral Drug restrains the growth and reproduction of HIV hence extending the lifetime of the patient. However, the drug remains above the reach of the poor who are the majority. The drug costs about $159 or Ksh.13, 356 per person per year.

Since the discovery of Anti-Retroviral drugs, cure is yet to be found, at least on record. However in 2011 renowned scientist Prof. Arthur Obel claimed he could cure the virus with his drug christened ‘Pearl Omega’ but he refused to reveal the formula. The controversial professor was quickly ruled out with the authorities saying that he was causing anxiety and false hope among the public. That maybe true but he was not given a chance to defend his claim.

Prof. Obel might be one among many others who have claimed to have found a cure but were silenced before even given the platform to prove their claims. This brings one pertinent question; is there will to find the cure? Have people conspired to ensure the cure remains a mirage while continuing raking in millions of shillings in the production of ARV’s?

HIV/AIDS has transformed from a pandemic to a very profitable sub-sector in the health industry. Come to think of it, how many people have secured employment since the discovery of the first infection? Medical research centers have been set up across the world in a bid to find the ‘cure’ and as such received grants courtesy of HIV/AIDS. Pharmaceutical companies are perhaps the largest beneficiaries as they sell ARV’s for millions of patients, condoms for protection, test kits and on top of that receive research grants.
Funds have been set up to support fight against HIV/AIDS especially in less developed countries who are the biggest casualties. Closer home, Non-Governmental Organizations-NGOs have mushroomed everywhere purportedly addressing various issues in the fight against AIDS. Some have gone ahead to set up ghost NGO’s who receive grants for the campaigns while others exist but disappear after receiving the grant.
AIDS has sadly become a business venture where individuals are profiteering at the expense of others. Nobody in the entire HIV/AIDS Ltd is really interested in finding the cure since they will significantly reduce their profit margin or lose out completely. The NGOs would no longer be relevant, condom sales will drop, and jobs will be lost and slashing of research grant among others. So they would rather maintain the status-quo.

Some argue that HIV/AIDS is the disease prophesied in the bible that will have no cure though the bible does not out rightly mention the disease. There are many non-curable diseases so we can’t peg our argument on that. The disease maybe a man made and has been a profitable venture since its advent. Expect no cure at least in the foreseeable future as profit remains the bottom principle.