FDA recognizes the potential of Truvada as a preventative HIV drug

Truvada, which is made by Gilead Sciences Inc., is a combination of the drugs, Emtriva (emtricitabine) and Viread (tenofovir). The FDA noted that the prescription of Truvada to uninfected individuals should be based on a person's risk of infection, their ability to adhere to the treatment plan, and the potential kidney problems that could result from the drug.

Truvada is already available in the US for people living with HIV. A study by the New England Journal of Medicine in 2010 discovered that taking Truvada daily by men who have sex with men reduced their rate of infection by 44 percent. Many HIV negative individuals already take the drug privately as a preventative measure. However, several studies have demonstrated that the drug's effectiveness at preventing HIV is largely dependent on an individual's ability to consistently take the drug.

According to the CDC, around 1.2 million people in the US are HIV positive. If Truvada is approved as a preventative measure, it could represent a shift in the battle against the virus that causes AIDS.

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The FDA acknowledged Tuesday that the drug, Truvada, appears to be a safe and effective means of reducing HIV infections in high-risk individuals. An outside panel of experts will review the FDA's analysis of Truvada on Thursday. This group will decide if the drug should be prescribed in the US to HIV negative individuals. Despite Truvada's potential, the concern is that the drug will be used in place of condoms instead of in combination with prophylactics.

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