New HIV drug could lessen HIV infection

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(KTVI) - It's being hailed as the best thing ever for preventing HIV. A drug called Truvada is part of a new HIV prevention toolkit called prep, short for pre-exposure prophylaxis.

Truvada is a combination of two drugs currently used to treat HIV positive patients, but studies have shown when HIV negative people take it every day, Truvada reduces the risk of HIV infection by up to 92-percent.

Despite decades of HIV education, everything from abstinence to condom use, there are still 50,000 new HIV infections each year in the United States.

Who should consider taking Truvada?

Within the past year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended it for people who are HIV negative and at substantial risk for contracting HIV, that includes sexual transmission where one person is HIV positive and the other is HIV negative, as well as some men who have sex with men.

The CDC also recommends Truvada for intravenous drug users who share needles.

The pill must be taken every day to be effective, and people are still advised to practice safer sex, which includes using condoms.

People taking Truvada must undergo routine blood screenings, testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

And Truvada can be expensive, with a cash price of over a thousand dollars a month, though many insurance plans cover it, and the drug maker, Gillead, offers co-pay assistance, with many people paying little or nothing out of pocket.

PrEP Basics:

More Truvada Information:

Saint Louis Effort for AIDS:

Dr. David Prelutsky:

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