US Approves HIV-prevention Drug

US health regulators have for the first time approved a drug to prevent HIV infection.

Truvada can be used by those at high risk of infection and anyone who may engage in sexual activity with HIV-infected partners, said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Studies showed the drug reduced the risk of contracting HIV by up to 73%.

Some health workers and groups active in the HIV community opposed a green light for the once-daily pill.

There have been concerns the circulation of such a drug could engender a false sense of security. There have also been fears that a drug-resistant strain of HIV could develop.

In a statement, the FDA stressed that the drug should be used as part of a “comprehensive HIV prevention plan”, including condom use and regular HIV testing.

In May, an advisory group of health experts recommended approval for the pill.

Truvada, made by California-based Gilead Sciences, is already backed by the FDA to be taken with existing anti-retroviral drugs for people who have HIV.

Studies from 2010 showed that Truvada reduced the risk of HIV in healthy gay men – and among HIV-negative heterosexual partners of HIV-positive people – by between 44% and 73%.

-BBC News

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