The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been aggressively working on preventing the spread of HIV disease for some time now. And in July 2012, it had approved the daily use of a combination of 300 milligrams tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and 200 milligrams emtricitabine (TDF/FTC) as a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A pill that combines these drugs is known as Truvada. And recent studies have found that the use of HIV PrEP such as Truvada has actually prevented new HIV infections from developing.
A study conducted by Kaiser Permanente and the Infectious Diseases Society of America, in fact, found that in a large clinical practice, no new HIV infections was found among the population. This is despite the high rate of sexually transmitted infections and a reported decrease in condom use. Such findings imply that Truvada has been quite effective when it comes to being a PrEP.
Truvada was actually developed by Gilead Sciences. It is classified as a nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) that can be readily used to treat HIV-1 infection among adults and young adults aged 12 and above. Since Truvada is composed of a potent drug combination, using it for treatment allows two kinds of medicines to treat a person simultaneously. However, it must be noted that Truvada cannot treat HIV-1 infection on its own and must be used in combination with other HIV treatment medicines.
As a PrEP pill, Truvada can help decrease the one’s risk to contract HIV-1. This is because the said pill works as an HIV-1 reverse transcriptase, meaning it can block “the action of a protein that HIV-1 needs to infect the body.” It is recommended, however, that a person also readily practice safe sex while taking the said pill daily.
Meanwhile, Gilead has also launched a Truvada for PrEP Medication Assistance Program for those who do not have insurance to be able to start treatment. Gilead says the program is open to eligible HIV-negative adults residing in the United States.