Tests have shown that daily use of Truvada lowered the risk of infection by 42% in healthy gay and bisexual men. In HIV discordant couples in which one partner is HIV positive and the other is not, the drug reduced the risk of infection by as much as 75%.
While some see the approval of this drug as a victory, others fear it will give high-risk individuals a false sense of immunity. In the trials, the test subjects also used condoms and the researchers ensured that the subjects took the pill daily. Outside of such a highly monitored situation, high-risk individuals may be far less vigilant.
There is also the fear that the drug's side effects may unnecessarily jeopardize the health of HIV negative individuals. The drug can cause liver damage and a potentially life-threatening build up of acid in the blood.
Gilead Sciences has not announced what it will charge for Truvada. Some estimates put the price as high as $29,000 a year, which might keep the drug out of the hands of those people who need it most.
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