FDA Approves Truvada For HIV Prevention
7/16/2012 11:50:00 AM
By Alex Garner
Today the Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada for use to prevent HIV infection. This is a historic day as Truvada, made by Gilead, is the first drug approved for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. HIV-negative people need to take the pill every day in order for it to work but when taken correctly it can be 92% effective at preventing HIV infection.
"Today’s approval marks an important milestone in our fight against HIV," said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. "Every year, about 50,000 U.S. adults and adolescents are diagnosed with HIV infection, despite the availability of prevention methods and strategies to educate, test, and care for people living with the disease. New treatments as well as prevention methods are needed to fight the HIV epidemic in this country."
This is of significant importance to those considered at high-risk for contracting HIV – gay men, in particular gay men of color, sex workers, transgender women, etc. Truvada will provide one more option for preventing HIV along with other prevention practices, such as condom use.
There are still some unanswered questions with Truvada for prevention. The main one is, who is going to pay for it? That is a significant issue as there are some HIV-positive people in the U.S. who are on waiting lists for life-saving medications. It’s still very up in the air at this point but there will be a number of studies that will provide Truvada as PrEP for free. One of those studies will take place at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center.
PrEP has always been very controversial. AHF has been a fierce opponent of the approval of Truvada for prevention.
"Approving PrEP would be a reckless act," said Michael Weinstein. He fears that PrEP will cause gay men to abandon condom use.
However, most research shows that the majority of gay men already do not use condoms. Truvada will simply give gay men more options when it comes to preventing HIV. Since many are already not using condoms, using this drug may reduce their risk they are currently actively exposed to.
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