Scientists are one step closer to curing what has so far been an incurable disease.
On Monday, the FDA approved the first pill to help prevent HIV. The pill, named “Truvada” acts as “a preventive measure for healthy people who are at high risk of acquiring HIV through sexual activity, such as those who have HIV-infected partners.”
Gilead Sciences Inc., the company manufacturing Truvada, initially marked the pill in 2004 for individuals who were already infected with the HIV virus. Since then, the pill has been modified to act as a preventative to the HIV virus. The pill is to be taken daily and is estimated to cost $14,000 annually.
The decision to approve Truvada comes in the wake of an approval of “OraQuick,” an at-home test for HIV “which detects the presence of HIV in saliva collected using a mouth swab and returns a result within 40 minutes, aimed at people who might not otherwise be tested. The FDA has said the test is not 100 percent accurate.”
However, the FDA’s decision to approve Truvada is contested. Organizations within the HIV community, such as the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, are worried that such a pill will be abused and not used correctly “saying [Truvada] could give patients a false sense of security and reduce the use of condoms, the most reliable preventive measure against HIV.”
But, in light of the fact that there have been “50,000 new [HIV] infections per year for the last 15 years” and that “it’s estimated that one-fifth, or about 240,000 people, are unaware that they are infected,” Truvada marks a significant step forward to curbing the number of individuals infected with HIV.