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FDA Approves Truvada As HIV Prevention Strategy For High-Risk, Uninfected Individuals

The FDA on Monday announced the approval of the first drug for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV among people at risk of contracting the virus, “which some are calling a landmark in the fight against AIDS,” ABC News reports (Geryk, 7/16). “The drug is Truvada, an antiretroviral medication made by Gilead Sciences, Inc., which was already approved by the FDA in 2004 to help control HIV infection,” CNN’s “The Chart” writes (7/16). “The new approval marks the first time the FDA has approved a drug” to reduce the risk of HIV infection, allowing Truvada “to be used in people who are considered at high risk of becoming infected with HIV, such as those who have an HIV-infected partner,” the Wall Street Journal notes (Dooren, 7/16). “The FDA said Truvada should be used as ‘part of a comprehensive HIV prevention strategy that includes other prevention methods, such as safe sex practices, risk reduction counseling, and regular HIV testing,’” Agence France-Presse adds (Sheridan, 7/16).

Some public health officials believe use of the drug, along with other prevention strategies, can help slow the spread of HIV in the U.S. and abroad, the Associated Press/USA Today notes (7/16). “However, some experts believe that there are potential drawbacks to using the medication as a way to try to prevent HIV infection,” such as the high cost of the drug, potential side effects, and the possibility that it will encourage risky behavior, HealthDay writes (Dotinga, 7/16).