FDA Approves First Ever HIV Prevention Pill

The best method in the fight against HIV AIDS has always been prevention. Man has tried to stop the spread of the disease with three main ways: the use of condoms, being faithful to a single partner and total abstinence from sex. These three methods seemed to have worked, as today the infection rates have been found to stagnate and, in some countries, to even nosedive, thus indicating a great victory.

But, these preventive methods didn’t actually fight the disease head on or proactively. And they were methods that were implemented in the hope that both parties involved were HIV negative. But not anymore; in what is being considered a huge milestone in the 30-year long fight against the disease, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first ever HIV prevention pill1.

Called Truvada, this latest step in the fight against the disease is the product of Gilead Sciences. The company has been researching and developing drugs that have been used to fight diseases like HIV AIDS, Hepatitis B and influenza since 1987.

You may find it surprising to hear that Truvada has actually been on the market since 2004. At the time, it was used as a treatment, or part of a regimen, by people who were already infected with HIV. But, since 2010, studies were done which made it clear that the drug could actually be used in the prevention of the disease itself when it was taken as a precautionary measure.  A three-year study also showed that, when taken daily, the pills reduced the chances of infection of healthy partners by 42% when used in tandem with condoms and counseling. A year ago, another study found that Truvada reduced the chances of infection by a whopping 75% in heterosexual couples of whom one of them was infected with HIV. In what is considered a showcase of the disagreement about handling the disease, groups like the AIDS Healthcare Foundation have asked that the FDA reject the drug as it may give patients a false sense of security and encourage unsafe sex.

Yes, different organizations may have opposing opinions, but the approval of Truvada is a breakthrough moment in the prevention of HIV infection. It is important to stress that Truvada will not protect you from others STDs (such as hepatitis C, gonorrhea, syphilis or herpes) and does have potential side effects, such as dizziness and diarrhea.

Source: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1227175–fda-approves-first-pill-to-help-prevent-hiv

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