Drug Approved for HIV Prevention - WSET.com - ABC13

Drug Approved for HIV Prevention

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There may be a breakthrough in the fight against HIV infections. The FDA has approved a pill that can actually prevent someone from getting the virus.

It's called Truvada, and it's been available for people with HIV for a number of years.  Now, it's been shown to keep people from getting HIV in the first place.

Dr. Bob Brennan works with HIV patients in Lynchburg and Danville through the Ryan White Clinic. 

He said there's a lot of excitement about this because while they have been able to make a dent in the number of people dying because of AIDS, they have not made a dent in the number of new HIV cases since 2000. There are still about 50,000 new cases each year.

But Brennan does see some drawbacks.

"The problem is that you have to take it every day, number one. If you take it when you feel like it or before you have sexual activity it's not going to work," Brennan said. "And the other dilemma is that it's going to cost about $13,000 a year. And it's unclear at this point if insurance companies will pay for it."

Brennan said the drug should be prescribed to people in a monogamous relationship with a partner who has HIV. Health officials still urge people to use condoms.

You have to be tested for HIV before you can go on Truvada, and Brennan said you'll have to get tested every three months to keep the prescription.

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