Yesterday an FDA advisory panel recommended approval of Truvada for pre-exposure phylaxis (PrEP) of HIV. While many in the HIV and AIDS medical and research community support the move, many others fear that it will reduce the use of condoms, which are critical for HIV prevention. The question is: Will those in high risk categories, those who engage in risky sexual behaviors or use intraveneous drugs, actually adhere to a medical prevention protocol, especially if they are already having difficulty consistently using condoms? While I think it’s possible that there are those in committed relationships with someone who is HIV positive who may be able to tolerate the serious side effects, the majority of those at risk for contracting HIV may not be able to stick with the regimen.
Studies have shown that getting tested and realizing that you are positive reduces the risk you will pass it on. Just the awareness that someone is putting someone else in danger may deter people from risky behavior. But getting tested and the use of a preventive medication requires that people actually care about their role in the spread of HIV. The continued large number of new cases every year, which is approximately 50,000 according to the Centers for Disease Control, and the 21% increase in new cases in young men aged 13-29 is fueled by the 34% increase in cases among young gay and bisexual men. It would be great if this could be another tool in the HIV prevention toolbox that doesn’t make people feel safe skipping the condom. Let’s hope that the right message on this “HIV Prevention Pill” gets out and it helps to stem the tide of new HIV infections and unnecessary disease.
Written by www.labtestingnow.com