By Lauren Pratt |Staff Writer|
For the first time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug treatment that can prevent infection in “healthy people.”
The drug, Truvada, which is also approved for the treatment of HIV infected patients, works by lowering the amount of the virus of circulating in blood, according to Time.
Scientists, reported by the New England Journal of Medicine, found out nearly 2,500 HIV negative gay men who were at risk of contracting the virus had a 44 percent lower rate of HIV than those taking a placebo.
Those who took their medication faithfully on a daily basis found the benefit of the drug was reported even greater, as their risk of acquiring dropped to 73 percent, according to studies conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Also known as PrEP, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, the medication interferes with HIV’s ability to copy itself in your body after being exposed. This prevents it from establishing an infection and making people sick, according to whatisprep.com.
The FDA approval, however, is controversial, according to Time.
Some experts believe that people may engage in more risky behavior when they are on the drug, believing they are completely protected against HIV.
It was apparent in the months and years after it was approved, non PrEP users began denigrating those who took the drug, labeling them “Truvada whores.”
Many saw the drug as a dangerous cancer that could eventually undo all the laborious work educators and advocates had put into educating people about the disease, according to Time.
“The results are exciting, but it is not time for anyone to stop using condoms or stop following proven prevention methods,” said Dr. Kevin Fenton, Director of the CDC National Center for HIV- AIDS.
During interview questions asked about Truvada, Fenton was asked: “Does Truvada cure AIDs?”
The answer is still the same—no.
It was said that the drug can treat people who are infected with HIV by lowering the amount of virus in their bodies and slowing down the progression of the disease.
Openly gay CSUSB student, Michael Lavota, believes “a medication along, with condoms, that ensures my sexual safety and protection is definitely a step in the right direction for LGBT community as well as heterosexual people.”