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H.I.V. drug shows promise, but may have limitations

Hopefully, the late stages of H.I.V. will someday cease to be a reason why some individuals must seek Social Security disability insurance benefits. In pursuit of that goal, a recent medication shows promise. Called Truvada, the pill is taken daily and may help reduce the risk of H.I.V. contraction.

However, there may be qualifications to a study that boasted that the pill could be up to 99 percent effective in preventing H.I.V. First, the medication’s effectiveness may be dependent on dosage. Indeed, researchers caution that it must be faithfully taken every day to ensure that adequate amounts are in an individual’s blood stream. In addition, a single statistical model may not consider all of the variables that could impact the drug’s effectiveness, and/or the sample size may have been too small. Other researchers caution that the drug should be used as a preventative measure, rather than as a replacement for using condoms.

From difficult eligibility standards to a processing backlog, an individual who is no longer able to work because of a debilitating or terminal condition might encounter obstacles in seeking disability benefits. Yet with a terminal condition, time is of the essence.

For example, readers may be surprised to learn that nearly twenty percent of SSDI beneficiaries die within five years of receiving SSDI payments, based on data from the Center for American Progress. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration recognizes this imperative, and has a Compassionate Allowances procedure that provides expedited processing to an enumerated list of serious or terminal disabilities.

Source: The New York Times, “Is Truvada, the Pill to Prevent H.I.V., 99 Percent Effective? Don’t Be So Sure,” Josh Barro, July 16, 2014

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