New HIV-Prevention Drug Approved by FDA

A new drug has been approved by the FDA this week that lowers the risk of contracting HIV from a partner. The drug, named Truvada, is designed to be taken by people who are at high risk of contracting the virus but have not tested positive for it. There were mixed reactions about the decision to release Truvada over the last few months because the daily pill is not a cure-all for those at risk, and isn’t designed to be taken alone by those who already have HIV.

Critics are concerned that the pill will foster a false sense of security in those who are at risk, thereby actually making the likelihood of the disease spreading that much greater, the BBC reports. The pill must be used along with all the regular preventative measures, such as condoms and safe sex practices. Some studies have shown an increase in riskier sex practices because the drug offers the false allure of total protection.

Experts state that Truvada is ideal for those who are HIV-negative and have a partner who is not consistently taking antiretroviral drugs, which traditionally makes it much less likely that the virus will be transmitted to the healthy partner.

Many commentators point out that the drug is not going to be right for everyone and probably won’t be the most popular form of treatment or prevention. In rare cases, the drug can offer an amazing option for couples in a tough situation. NPR points out that women who want to conceive a child with an HIV-positive partner could accomplish this goal and have a healthy child by taking Truvada.

The downside to this miraculous and pathbreaking new drug? It costs quite a bit to procure at about $13,000 a year, according to an estimate by NPR. People hoping to take the drug may have variable luck getting insurance companies to help out with the cost of the new medicine.

Those who hope to take the drug must be tested for HIV and receive a negative test result. They must also be regularly tested every couple of months. This precaution has been included because HIV can become resistant to Truvada very quickly if a patient takes the medicine while he or she is unaware they are HIV-positive, the Examiner notes.

The drug does show a 75 percent decrease in the rate of contracting the virus in heterosexual couples where one person had HIV and the other was negative, USA Today points out. That number sits at 42 percent for gay couples when accompanied with safe sex practices and regular, reliable application of the drug. This treatment was approved the same month as the first at-home HIV test was also approved by the FDA.

Related Stories:

25 Percent of Adults in Bostwana Have AIDS; That Number May be Changing

First Oral At-Home HIV Test Approved

FDA Urged to Approve At-Home HIV Test

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Beall


Robert Vincelette

Would you get on an airliner that had decreased its significant rate of crashes by only 75% and pay $13000 a year to fly it?

Terry V.
Terry V5 years ago


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

hmmm. i agree that it might lead to a false sense of security. when I was a teen I was on birth control due to irregular periods. when I decided to become sexually active I felt condoms werent "that big of a deal" sense I was protected. obviously I was not thinking about STDs, but the scenario still applies. plus we already have HIV prevention.... honesty and condoms!!!! KNOW YOUR PARTNER

Leigh E.
Leigh EVERETT5 years ago

"Those who hope to take the drug must be tested for HIV and receive a negative test result. They must also be regularly tested every couple of months. This precaution has been included because HIV can become resistant to Truvada very quickly if a patient takes the medicine while he or she is unaware they are HIV-positive"

I don't understand this paragraph. If you're already HIV positive (whether you know it or not) there's no point in taking this drug. In this case it's not Truvada becoming resistant, it's a case of taking a drug for a purpose for which it's not designed for. And if you have already received a negative test result then it's not going to become resistant to a non existent virus.

If I'm not making myself clear please let me know and I'll try and do better because it's difficult to put in words what I'm trying to say.


Leigh E.
Leigh EVERETT5 years ago

I wonder how much the FDA received in order to approve this drug?

Richard T.
Richard T5 years ago

Thank you for info!

Marianne B.
Marianne B5 years ago

A bit late for those who have already died. Side effects? Cost? Will it be given to Africa or another third world country that really this? My guess is no. Just another drug company profiting from ignorant people. Please get informed. thanks

Dave Tohunga
Dave te tohunga5 years ago

pregnancy and all viral and bacterial diseases can be prevented by a lemon juice douche according to scientists who discovered this when investigating why a certain s e asian nation didn't have the problems of other nations and it was announced in the Australian media years ago... shhh don't tell anyone in america because Big Pharma can't profit from lemons... Lemon juice may kill AIDS virus: research

Updated July 12, 2004 22:15:00
Map: VIC

Prayers for a vaginal gel to kill the AIDS virus, thus protecting millions of women from infected sex partners, may be answered by ... the humble lemon.

That is the novel suggestion made by Australian researchers, who have followed up ancient traditions in parts of rural South-East Asia that lemon or lime juice, used intravaginally, can be a sperm-killing contraceptive.

In research to be presented on Tuesday at the International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, a team led by Roger Short of the University of Melbourne says a solution of lemon juice - when tested on a lab dish, not on humans - was a mighty slayer of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

"Provided that clinical trials confirm that intravaginal lemon juice is acceptable, safe and effective, it could prove to be nature's own microbicide," the team said in a resume of their research.

Inna P.
Inna P5 years ago

Thousands of people have been cured from HIV with MMS, that's why the FDA is trying to ban it. You can read more about it here

Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago

Thanks for the info.