The Food and Drug Administration has given the approval for a drug to prevent HIV infection. The daily pill Truvada, made by Gilead Sciences, combines two medicines that inhibit the reproduction of HIV. Its been a mainstay in the treatment of HIV/AIDS for years, and as of today is an approved option for reducing the risk of HIV infection for people at high risk, the report claims.
According to the report, this drug is meant for people who test negative for HIV infection. This drug is to be used in combination with safe-sex practices. Safer sex practices include consistent use of condoms, knowing your HIV status and the HIV status of your partner(s), getting tested for other sexually transmitted infections (like syphilis), and taking action to limit contact with other body fluids are needed to help you limit exposure to the HIV virus. “Truvada alone shouldn't be used to prevent HIV infection,” FDA's Dr. Debra Birnkrant said at the media briefing.
According to the report, the people taking Truvada should be tested for HIV infection every three months so that treatment can start immediately if needed. Users should also ask their partners to get tested. The panel of experts recommended the agency to take action after certifying that the benefit out weighs the negative effect. The approval was spurred on by an increase of infection and to reduce the transmission of HIV. The cost of prevention is not trivial. The annual cost for Truvada ranges from about $11,000 to $14,000.
While this report might come as a good news, people should be aware that it does not guarantee total prevention from HIV. Also, it should be known that:
- Truvada does not cure HIV/AIDS
- Truvada alone might not keep you from contracting HIV, practicing safe-sex is still important
- You may still get other infections like fungus and TB while taking Truvada
- If you have the hepatitis B virus and stop taking truvada, your condition may get worse
Other serious side effects include:
- New or worsening kidney problems
- Bone problems
- Change in body fat
- Symptoms of inflammations
- The most common symptoms includes diarrhea, dizziness, nausea, headache, fatigue, sleeping problems, rash and depression.
It is advisable to consult your healthcare provider before taking this drug for advise on how to stay healthy.