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|Would you pay $1,200 a month to prevent contracting HIV?|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|July 16, 2012 15:44|
The drug Truvada has been given its approval by the Food and Drug Administration today to be used as an option for reducing the risk of contracting HIV.
This is the first drug approved by the U.S. government to do so.
Truvada, made by Gilead Sciences, has been used by HIV patients on a daily basis with other drugs for years as part of regimen to keep the virus at bay. In studies, Truvada also proved that when taken in combination with the use of condoms the risk of HIV infection is greatly decreased
• A study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health of HIV-negative gay and bisexual men and transgender women showed a 42 percent less chance of contracting the virus.
• A study by the University of Washington among 4,800 heterosexual couples in which one partner was HIV positive, the chances of contracting HIV dropped 75 percent.
The drug is for high-risk people, such as gay men. The catch? The drug costs approximately $14,000 a year — or about $1,200 a month. How many people can afford this? And are they willing to pay it?
Also, for sex workers — also at high risk of contracting HIV — the cost is simply too much.
There are also arguments that if the drug is made available, gay and bisexual men will begin to indulge in riskier behavior because they may believe that now they have this pill a their disposal, condoms and other safer sex practices are no longer necessary. Bad side effects and drug resistency may result in healthy people taking Truvada, they argue, and lead to more infections.
Others in support of Truvada be made available for HIV prevention counter that gay and bisexual men have show in studies they will continue to know the risks and practice safer sex but simply have another tool in trying to stave the epidemic.
Kevin Fenton, director of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD & TB Prevention, issued a statement this evening:
With 50,000 new HIV infections in the United States each year, additional prevention methods are urgently needed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention applauds the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision to approve the use of Truvada (a combination of 300 milligrams of tenofovir and 200 milligrams of emtricitabine) to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV. We believe this is an important step that should help ensure that physicians and patients receive the detailed information and educational materials needed to most effectively use this prevention strategy.
What are your thoughts?
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