Update: Anti-HIV pill gets approval
By: Thabiso Thantsha
Published: 19 July 2012
According to Reuters, health regulators in the USA have approved the drug Truvada, which could reduce the risk of contracting HIV. We reported on US health experts supporting the anti-HIV pill in May this year.
Developed by Gilead Sciences Inc, Truvada has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a preventive measure for people who are at risk of contracting the virus, such as those who have HIV-positive partners. The drug is to be taken daily, in conjunction with practising safe sex and regular HIV tests to reduce the risk of contracting the virus if one engages in sexual activity with a HIV-positive person.
As a condition of approval, the FDA is firm when it comes to the warning label on Truvada. It will make sure that health workers screen individuals before prescribing the use of the drug, to make sure they are not already infected.
Reuters further reveals that around 50 000 people in the USA are infected with HIV each year. Margaret Hamburger, the FDA Commissioner, said that new treatments as well as prevention methods are needed to fight the epidemic of HIV in the USA. A study conducted in 2010 revealed that the drug reduced the risk of HIV among homosexuals by 44%.
Some people who are involved in the prevention of HIV/Aids have opposed the approval of the drug, fearing it will give a false sense of security which might lead to people to stop the use of condoms.
Aids deaths decline worldwide
Fewer HIV-positive people in sub-Saharan Africa are dying of Aids, as antiretroviral drugs are becoming more accessible and help people live with the virus. Aids-related deaths dropped to 1.7 million last year (from 1.8 million in 2010 and 2.3 million in 2005).
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