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New Pill Found Effective in HIV Prevention - 06/16/2012

In the campaign to fight the spread of AIDS, there is something to be positive about today. Just last month, authorities from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed findings of a study regarding a pill that can prevent the spread of HIV infection. Scientists that conducted the research revealed that the pill is safe to take but will only be effective for prevention is taken on a daily basis. The pill called Truvada is considered to fight HIV infection even in healthy people and the first of its kind to be approved for use among patients with a high risk of HIV infection.

For patients advised to take the pill, FDA reviewers stressed that they need to make sure to take it every day. If they are diligent enough, they may be spared from infection that requires lifetime treatment.

The Truvada pill was first announced in 2010 and its ability to prevent HIV infection is considered a breakthrough. Scientists who did a research on its effects for three years discovered that when taken every day, the risk of infection among gays and bisexual men is reduced by 44 percent. Its effectiveness is also increased when condoms are used and patients are provided counseling. A separate research found that the pill helped lower infection by 75 percent among heterosexual couples.

Unknown to many of you, Truvada has been marketed by Gilead Sciences since 2004 although it has yet to get FDA approval. The pill combines two previous HIV drugs known as Viread and Emtriva. Doctors have already been prescribing it as a preventive medicine. Its side effects include dizziness, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

According to authorities, potential markets for this pill are gay men who engage in sex with multiple men, couples in which one is positive with HIV as well as heterosexual couples who desire to have children. Currently, the cost of taking Truvada daily is estimated at $26 or $10,000 yearly. Various groups have already called for its approval.

In the U.S., there are currently more than a million people positive with HIV. Of those who are HIV-positive, 20 percent do not even know they are infected by this disease that causes AIDS. Greatly affected are men who engage in homosexual relationship and who have sexual intercourse with African Americans.

Since AIDS was declared an epidemic in the year 1981, more than 619,000 people in the U.S. have already died because of the disease.

 

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