Good news for drug makers

Bill Weintraub

Bill Weintraub

Good news for drug makers


CNN Money dot com: the internet home of FORTUNE

Expanded HIV testing good for drug makers

The administration's call for wider HIV testing signals a new battlefront in the fight against AIDS - and a possible boon for healthcare companies

John Simons, FORTUNE writer

May 16, 2006

NEW YORK (FORTUNE) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recently recommended that tests for HIV be extended to all patients entering hospitals and clinics, marking a watershed moment in the nation's fight against the virus that causes AIDS.

More than one million Americans are living with HIV and AIDS. And some 25 percent of them are unaware that they have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The new guidelines, which are aimed at identifying the estimated 250,000 Americans who may be unknowingly spreading HIV, are not only good for the nation's health - they will likely benefit a select group of healthcare companies too.


The CDC initiative has implications for the healthcare industry. Obviously, the makers of rapid testing devices and HIV medications stand to benefit. The CDC is already a major buyer of the "OraQuick Advance" test kit. Made by OraSure (down $0.09 to $9.22, Research), the oral HIV test is currently the simplest FDA-approved HIV test. Users swab their gums, and wait 20 minutes for an indicator to appear. Much like a pregnancy test, the indicator shows one bar for a negative result and two bars for positive.

The test - used in hopitals and clinics - is under FDA review to be sold as an over-the-counter consumer product. Its closest competitor, Trinity Biotech (up $0.14 to $8.34, Research) sells a rapid blood test.

Although the exact impact isn't yet understood, the market for HIV treatments is likely to expand too - while as many as 250,000 Americans discovery they have the virus. Leading producers of HIV medications, like Abbott Labs (up $0.62 to $42.92, Research), Bristol-Myers (up $0.42 to $24.88, Research), Gilead Sciences (down $0.62 to $56.46, Research), GlaxoSmithKline (up $0.86 to $57.94, Research) are likely to see an uptick in prescription growth in coming years as more Americans begin early HIV treatment.

Currently in the United States, there are four classes of anti-HIV drugs approved for use: nucleoside and nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NTRIs), non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNTRIs), protease inhibitors (PIs), and fusion inhibitors. In all, those drugs account for roughly $6 billion in annual U.S. sales.

[emphasis mine]

Bill Weintraub:

While hardly startling, the info in this article illustrates the way AIDS Inc. functions.

Of course early and routine testing is a good idea, but as I said in my recent post Syphilis up 87% among gay men, if the actual cause of HIV and other STD transmission among "men who have sex with men" had been addressed in 1984, we wouldn't be having these problems now:

  • One million or more Americans infected with HIV;

  • 250,000 Americans infected who don't know they're infected;

  • 67% of gay men infected with anal HPV, which causes anal cancer; and,

  • Recurring outbreaks of anally-vectored diseases such as syphilis and LGV -- a brutal strain of chlamydia which the LA Times just reported on and which we've covered since December of 2004 -- see, for example, LGV Redux in Warriors Speak and on this board.

Among men who have sex with men, all these diseases are anally-transmitted, and the prevalence among gay men is many, many times higher than in the "general population":

HIV prevalence = 25%.

HPV prevalence = 67%

Syphilis is up 87% among gay men.

And to the best of my knowledge, 100% of the cases of LGV found in America are among gay men.

Fact is, though, that prior to 1975 and the start of the great anal penetration frenzy, there was NO difference between the health of gay men and the health of straight men.


Subtract anal from the equation and at least 90% of the HIV infections vanish, syphilis drops dramatically, while anal HPV goes away ENTIRELY, as does LGV.

That should tell you, and more to the point, public health officers, something.

Surgeon General Carmona and the FDA appear to understand:

The Surgeon General has said, "Condoms provide some protection, but anal intercourse is simply too dangerous to practice."

Condoms may be more likely to break during anal intercourse than during other types of sex because of the greater amount of friction and other stresses involved.

Even if the condom doesn't break, anal intercourse is very risky because it can cause tissue in the rectum to tear and bleed. These tears allow disease germs to pass more easily from one partner to the other.

But no one else seems to be listening.

Recently, Chuck Tarver received an email from something billing itself as the "Gay Men's Health Movement."

I had contact with these bozos back in 2001, when they dis-invited me from one of their conferences.

They didn't approve of my views.

As Chuck said to me,

Whenever I've read below the surface of these gatherings they appear little more than exercises in "how can we make anal sex safe." Other than some substance abuse issues, mental health issues and smoking, the concerns of gay men seem to be pretty much the same as any man's. Once anal sex is taken out of the equation, the numbers look pretty much the same across racial, and socioeconomic lines.

That's right.

So a true "Gay Men's Health Movement" would seek to radically reduce the prevalence of anal among gay men.

Because that one step would radically improve the physical health of gay men.

And I maintain, it would also improve the mental health of gay men.

As I've said before -- see It's the anal -- while the gay leadership attributes the depression, low self-esteem, drug use, alcoholism, and higher smoking rate among gay men to homophobia, when we look at a city like SF, where homophobia is NOT an issue, we still see high rates of mental illness and substance abuse.

The problem is not homophobia.

The problem is anal penetration, which effeminizes, demeans, and degrades all those who take part in it:

If homophobia's the problem, then the absence of homophobia should have created, in San Francisco, a gay male paradise of intimacy and belonging.

Instead, what's described in the New Yorker and the New York Times and the SF Chronicle is a hell of unsafe sex, promiscuity, drugs, and disease.

Perhaps instead of worrying about what happened to these guys as kids, we should worry about what's happening to them as adults:

Anal penetration.

Anal penetration is a debasing and degrading practice for both top and bottom. If you suffer from low self-esteem, and you get fucked, your self-esteem goes even lower.

As does your self-esteem every time you get shit on your dick.

Once again, it's not the homophobia.

It's the anal, stupid.

We need to get clear about this:

It's not homophobia, and it's not depression and low self-esteem that are the problems.

It's the cculture of anal penetration among gay men.

Which we could change.

Do you want to change that culture?

Then please DONATE

so that we can be part of this public policy debate.

Don't want to donate?

Then be prepared to see more "good news for drug makers" as anal and anally-vectored diseases take a greater and greater toll --

not just on the lives of other people.

But on your life too.

© All material Copyright 2006 by Bill Weintraub. All rights reserved.

Robert Loring

Re: Good news for drug makers


Ah great!! Now the drug companies can make more money than they make already (and they are already making far more profit than the oil companies are).

The whole issue has been confused when it comes to HIV/AIDS. The problem is NOT homophobia. The problem is anal intercourse. Anal penetration is just too risky and that fact does NOT speak against gay people for being gay! It is a matter of safe sex versus destructive sex. There ARE other ways for gay men to have sex with their partners and frot is one of those ways and much safer.

The FACT is this: PEOPLE NEED TO GROW UP!! Unload the attitude and GROW UP!! Sadly, however, this is NOT the case with many "adults" today. Instead many still have the minds of children but the bodies of adult men and women. Growing up means taking RESPONSIBILITY for YOURSELF and for those you love. It's NOT about destroying those you love! It's NOT about harming those you love! Sex should be something that is pleasurable to BOTH people involved NOT something that is pleasurable to one and destructive or even deadly to the other. It should be mutually enjoyable and without harm to either partner. Anal intercourse causes harm!

The SAD fact is we live in an upside down, LOST society that is fixated with the ME. The attitude seems to be, "As long as I get what I long as I feel good....screw the other person!" That is the WRONG attitude especially when it comes to someone you claim to "love." LOVE does NOT destroy! Love lifts up and Love creates!! Love does NOT do any harm! But, sadly, in our wayward modern society there are really very few people who really know anything about REAL love but they sure as fuck know a lot about SELFISHNESS.

Anal sex is dangerous NO MATTER what your sexual preference is! It's NOT a strictly gay issue, it's a PEOPLE issue! There are plenty of men who have anal sex with women and it's just as dangerous and destructive as gay men having anal sex with other men. The anus is for elimination not for penetration. It is the orifice of the body through which WASTE is ejected from the body. It is NOT intended for sexual pleasure! Adults who have any sense of self and other responsibility know this and their sense of LOVE and RESPECT for the person they are with keeps them from hurting that person. They know that LOVE is NOT about HURT. They know when someone is screaming it's an indication of PAIN not joy!!

Sir Robert

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