What many are calling a “wonder drug,” Truvada has been endorsed by the United State’s largest gay rights organization, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. The once-a-day pill has been found to decrease a person’s HIV risk by up to 92 percent.
However, many doctors have been slow to prescribe the drug citing that they feel it may increase the amount of high-risk, unprotected sexual behaviors. SFGate reports that the Human Rights Campaign is also pressing insurance companies to provide more thorough coverage of Truvada. The organization released a policy paper on Saturday strongly supporting the preventive use of Truvada. It depicted the drug as “a critically important tool” in combatting HIV.
Truvada has been around for a decade, serving as one of the key drugs used in combination with others as the basic treatment for people with HIV. In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration approved it for pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP — in other words, to prevent people from getting sexually transmitted HIV in the first place. Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said “there is no reason” to discourage the use of the drug.
“Today, there is an unprecedented chance to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, in part through PrEP’s aggressive prevention of new HIV infections. There is no reason — medical or otherwise — to discourage individuals from taking control of their sexual health and talking to their doctor about PrEP.”
The Daily Mail reports that the US packet insert on the drug states that the tablet offers up to a 92 per cent reduction in the risk of contracting HIV – if taken every day. However, research discussed at the International AIDS Conference in July found that the drug is effective even if people skip some doses. The research presented at the conference also noted that studies proved that use of the drug does not encourage risky sex.
The US isn’t the only country discussing Truvada at the moment. The United Kingdom is discussing making the drug available on the National Health Service (NHS), in what has been hailed as the most significant breakthrough against the virus in a generation. A landmark trial in England is to be sped up after interim analysis of the drug Truvada found it to be “highly protective against HIV.”
Dr Rosemary Gillespie, Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, said that fast tracking of the drug for use under the free healthcare options in the UK would be beneficial.
“This is potentially the most exciting development in HIV prevention in some years.”