AIDS advocates in Iowa are applauding news that the F-D-A has approved the first generic version of the AIDS-fighting drug A-Z-T. Summer Elgin, AIDS education coordinator at the Central Iowa chapter of the American Red Cross, says she’s very encouraged by the news, but won’t get too excited. Elgin says a lot of people still “aren’t going to be able to afford even a generic version depending on what the price is going to be,” though she says it’s good that it’s being recognized that not everyone can afford the drugs. A-Z-T is often combined with other medications and helps prevent the AIDS virus from reproducing in the body. Elgin says the AIDS and H-I-V numbers are falling in Iowa. She says there were 12-hundred-82 people living with H-I-V or AIDS in Iowa through June of 2005, while there have been 836 Iowans die from AIDS. Elgin says while it’s good news the number of H-I-V or AIDS-infected Iowans is falling, some of the numbers are a bit of a mystery. She says there’s been “a sharp decline which, hopefully, means that people are getting access to treatment,” though she says about 25-percent of Iowans who are diagnosed with H-I-V or AIDS are -not- getting medical treatment for it. Elgin says the generic version of A-Z-T is projected to cost about 105-dollars a year, roughly 20-percent less than the name-brand version.
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