(BPT) – This month marks the 8th annual observance of National HIV Testing Day. More than 30 years have passed since human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was first identified. Despite increased understanding of the disease and potential treatment options, deep stigma and misinformation still exist around the disease ”“ including among women, who now represent more than 25 percent of the 1.2 million people infected with HIV in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

When Katrina Barnes first took her fiancé to the doctor for what she thought was a severe cold, she did not expect to find out that he had HIV ”“ and certainly did not expect to learn that she, too, was HIV positive. At the time, Katrina was a health clinic administrator, engaged to the man she loved, and never imagined she could have contracted HIV. When she was diagnosed, Katrina felt angry, confused, and above all terrified of the impact that HIV would have on her family and her future. For Katrina, regaining a sense of control over her life came from gaining an understanding of the disease. She explains, “Doing the research on my treatment options and talking to my healthcare provider helped me separate the stigma from the facts about HIV. Knowing the facts helped me move forward in a positive way and now motivates me to teach others about the disease. I got over the stigma of HIV and became committed to treatment.”

“I encourage all of my patients to be active participants in their care ”“ including my female patients who often come to me with specific questions or concerns,” says Judith Feinberg, MD, professor of medicine, University of Cincinnati. “Open and honest discussions about medical history, lifestyle, and risks and benefits of treatment are crucial in determining how best to manage each individual patient.”

This year marks the 10-year anniversary for one treatment option, REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate). When taken in combination with other anti-HIV drugs, REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate) can help lower the “viral load,” or level of HIV in the body. Patients should speak with their physicians about the most appropriate course of treatment. 

Indication

REYATAZ® (atazanavir sulfate) is a prescription medicine used in combination with other medicines to treat people 6 years of age and older who are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate) has been studied in a 48-week trial in patients who have taken anti-HIV medicines and a 96-week trial in patients who have never taken anti-HIV medicines.

REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate) does not cure HIV or AIDS and you may continue to experience illnesses associated with HIV-1 infection, including opportunistic infections.

Do not take REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate) if you are allergic to REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate) or to any of its ingredients.

Getting tested is the first step to empowering women and men to be their own best health advocate. Katrina says, “If I could convey one message, it would be first and foremost to get tested.  If you do test HIV positive, empower yourself by being as informed as you can about your treatment options.”

Important Safety Information

Do not take REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate) if you are allergic to REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate) or to any of its ingredients.

Do not take REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate) if you are taking the following medicines due to potential for serious, life-threatening side effects or death:

Versed® (midazolam) when taken by mouth, Halcion® (triazolam), ergot medicines (dihydroergotamine, ergonovine, ergotamine, and methylergonovine such as Cafergot®, Migranal®, D.H.E. 45®, ergotrate maleate, Methergine®, and others), Propulsid® (cisapride), or Orap® (pimozide).

Do not take REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate) with the following medicines due to potential for serious side effects:Camptosar® (irinotecan), Crixivan® (indinavir), Mevacor®(lovastatin), Zocor® (simvastatin), Uroxatral® (alfuzosin), or Revatio® (sildenafil).

Do not take REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate) with the following medicines as they may lower the amount of REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate) in your blood, which may lead to increased HIV viral load and resistance to REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate) or other anti-HIV medicines: rifampin (also known as Rimactane®, Rifadin®, Rifater®, or Rifamate®), St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)-containing products, or Viramune® (nevirapine).

Serevent Diskus® (salmeterol), Advair® (salmeterol with fluticasone), Victrelis® (boceprevir), and Vfend® (voriconazole) are not recommended with REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate).

The above lists of medicines are not complete. Taking REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate) with some other medicines may require your therapy to be monitored more closely or may require a change in dose or dose schedule of REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate) or the other medicine. Discuss with your healthcare provider all prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamin and herbal supplements, or other health preparations you are taking or plan to take.

Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate) use during pregnancy has not been associated with an increase in birth defects. Pregnant women have experienced serious side effects when taking

REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate) with other HIV medicines called nucleoside analogues. After your baby is born, tell your healthcare provider if your baby’s skin or the white part of his/her eyes turns yellow. Do not breastfeed if you are HIV-positive.

Also tell your healthcare provider if you have end-stage kidney disease managed with hemodialysis or severe liver dysfunction.

Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any side effects, symptoms, or conditions, including the following:

  • Mild rash (redness and itching) without other symptoms sometimes occurs in patients taking
    REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate), most often in the first few weeks after the medicine is started, and usually goes away within 2 weeks with no change in treatment.
  • Severe rash may develop with other symptoms that could be serious and potentially cause death. If you develop a rash with any of the following symptoms, stop using REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate) and call your healthcare provider right away:

”“ Shortness of breath
”“ General ill-feeling or “flu-like” symptoms
”“ Fever
”“ Muscle or joint aches
”“ Conjunctivitis (red or inflamed eyes, like “pink-eye”)
”“ Blisters
”“ Mouth sores
”“ Swelling of your face

  • Yellowing of the skin and/or eyes may occur due to increases in bilirubin levels in the blood (bilirubin is made by the liver).
  • A change in the way your heart beats may occur. You may feel dizzy or lightheaded. These could be symptoms of a heart problem.
  • Diabetes and high blood sugar may occur in patients taking protease inhibitor medicines like REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate). Some patients may need changes in their diabetes medicine.
  • If you have liver disease, including hepatitis B or C, it may get worse when you take anti-HIV medicines like REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate).
  • Kidney stones have been reported in patients taking REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate). Signs or symptoms of kidney stones include pain in your side, blood in your urine, and pain when you urinate.
  • Gallbladder disorders (including gallstones and gallbladder inflammation) have been reported in patients taking REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate). Signs or symptoms of gallstones include pain in the right or middle upper stomach, fever, nausea and vomiting, or yellowing of skin and whites of the eyes.
  • Some patients with hemophilia have increased bleeding problems with protease inhibitor medicines like REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate).
  • Changes in body fat have been seen in some patients taking anti-HIV medicines. The cause and long-term effects are not known at this time.
  • Immune reconstitution syndrome has been seen in some patients with advanced HIV infection (AIDS) and a history of opportunistic infection. Signs and symptoms of inflammation from previous infections may occur soon after starting anti-HIV treatment, including
    REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate).

Other common side effects of REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate), taken with other anti-HIV medicines include: nausea; headache; stomach pain; vomiting; diarrhea; depression; fever; dizziness; trouble sleeping; numbness, tingling, or burning of hands or feet; and muscle pain.

You should take REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate) once daily with food (a meal or snack). Swallow the capsules whole; do not open the capsules. You should take REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate) and your other anti-HIV medicines exactly as instructed by your healthcare provider.

Please visit http://packageinserts.bms.com/pi/pi_reyataz.pdf for Full Prescribing Information for

REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate).

For more information about REYATAZ (atazanavir sulfate), please visit www.REYATAZ.com.

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