A drug that prevents the virus that causes HIV from replicating is now available through the Fan Free Clinic.
Used daily in conjunction with practicing safe sex and regular testing, the drug can be a life-saver and help prevent HIV infection. The drug is Truvada, from Gilead Sciences, and is up to 95 percent effective in reducing HIV infection.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstock
“It’s fascinating because it’s so remarkably effective,” says Dr. Wendy Klein, medical director of the Fan Free Clinic.
Individuals properly taking the medication have less of a chance of developing HIV if they are exposed to the virus. Klein in a telephone interview explained that Truvada works by blocking an enzyme that allows the virus to reproduce. Truvada is, of course, no substitute for use of a condom. It does not prevent pregnancy, nor does it provide protection from sexually transmitted diseases.
For the Fan Free Clinic program, you must be HIV-free to be eligible for the medication and undergo a financial screening; call 358-6343 for further details. You also must have properly functioning kidneys and be seen regularly, according to the clinic.
Truvada has been on the market since 2012. It can cost about $1,300 a month, and since it must be used daily for the rest of your life, than can mean it’s out of reach for many people who could benefit from it but who have no access to insurance.
The drug is available at no cost through the clinic, but the screening process is thorough. The clinic seeks to identify people in financial need (200 percent below the poverty level); who are at high risk for developing HIV; and who will comply with the regimen that makes the drug effective. That means they need to be seen regularly to ensure they remain HIV-free, that their kidneys are working as they should. They also are counseled in the need to continue to practice safe sex.
The medication would be discontinued if someone developed HIV.
The manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, is donating the drug to the clinic. A new application must be filed by the clinic for each patient, Klein said. “It took many months of planning to do this correctly,” says Klein.
The medication is also used to treat people with HIV-1 in conjunction with other medications, according to the manufacturer's website.
Be a hero, Sunday, and support research and education regarding congenital heart defects at the inaugural Superhero Heart Run at Bryan Park.
The event begins at 8:30 a.m. and will include fun runs and walks, music, hometown heroes with firetrucks and other attractions. The walk/runs begin at 10 a.m. and a bubble release will be held at 11 a.m. to honor children lost to congenital heart defects, the most common birth defect to occur, according to a release.
The event is presented by the Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU, with Heart Heroes Inc. and Mended Little Hearts of Central Virginia. You can register online through 9 p.m. Friday. Walk-up registrations accepted. A perk: You get a superhero cape when you register, as long as supplies last. Superhero costumes are encouraged and prizes will be given for top costumes.
Management Change at Bon Secours
Christopher Accashian has been named CEO of St. Francis Medical Center in Midlothian, according to a release.
He assumes duties on April 25. Accashian served as chief executive officer for Hospital Corporation of America’s Parkland Medical Center in Derry, New Hampshire before taking the St. Francis post. Prior experience includes various administrative posts with HCA, including as chief operating officer of Retreat Doctors’ Hospital and as associate administrator of Henrico Doctors’ Hospital.
Accashian replaces Mark M. Gordon at the Midlothian facility. Gordon in the fall was tabbed as chief executive officers for Bon Secours East, which includes Memorial Regional Medical Center in Mechanicsville, Richmond Community Hospital, and Rappahannock General Hospital in Kilmarnock.
Sleep on it
How do sleep woes impact academic social functioning in adolescents?
That’s the subject of a study by Joshua M. Langberg, a psychology professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and co-director of the school’s Center for ADHD Research, Education and Service.
He’s the principal investigator in a study funded through a $1.4 million, four-year federal grant that will look at how school and social functioning is impacted by sleep problems in middle schoolers and high school students, according to a university release.
A focus of the study will be the impact of sleep disorders on students with ADHD. About half of adolescents with ADHD have problems with sleep, according to the release.
“At this point, we don't understand why adolescents diagnosed with ADHD report such high rates of sleep difficulties,” Langberg says. “Is it stimulant medication use, comorbid problems with anxiety or depression, staying up late to complete homework, or screen use such as texting and Internet use near bedtime? Without this information, we cannot begin to help these students and their families improve sleep because we don’t know what to target.”
The study population will include 300 teens in eighth through tenth grades, divided evenly between teens with and without ADHD. Study sites are VCU and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.