The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced approval this week of a drug for daily use by uninfected adults to help prevent the sexual acquisition of HIV.
The drug combination, called Truvada, has been commercially available as an HIV treatment since 2004. But this is the first time any drugs have been approved for the prevention of sexually acquired HIV infection.
“With 50,000 new HIV infections in the United States each year, additional prevention methods are urgently needed,” said Dr. Kevin Fenton, Director, CDC National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD & TB Prevention.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention applauds the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision to approve the use of Truvada to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV,” he said.
If delivered effectively and targeted to those at highest risk, the medication could play an important role in the medical response to the HIV epidemic, officials said. Strong research evidence indicates that when used consistently, the drug is safe and effective at reducing the risk of acquiring HIV sexually.
The CDC has already issued guidelines to gay and bisexual men who may be considering the use of the drug and soon will publish similar guidelines for heterosexual men and women.
In order to be effective, the drug must be used consistently.
Furthermore, it should be viewed as as part of a comprehensive package of prevention services, including counseling regarding risk reduction and the importance of adherence to daily doses of medication, ready access to condoms, and diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, according to medical and public health experts.