Truvada emerging as potential HIV-blocker
Certified pharmacy technicians and other individuals involved in the world of pharmacology may have noticed an uptick in sales of a new drug, Truvada, over the past year.
Though the medicine is still in its early phases of wide scale distribution, it is being heralded as an incredible step towards ensuring safer sexual health. Effectively, the medicine acts as a sort of infection blocker, reducing the risk of men contracting HIV from sex if taken regularly and appropriately.
This is, of course, an incredible advancement as no drug has yet been able to make these sorts of strides towards reducing the spread of this ravaging autoimmune disorder.
What is Truvada?
Truvada is actually a combination of two research HIV drugs that were already on the market before it was developed. It is intended to be used similarly to female birth control pills, in that it is taken daily as a sort of pre-prophylaxis for sexual encounters. It does not have the potential to fully remove the risk of contracting HIV from a sexual partner, but it has been shown to significantly decrease it. In fact, Fox News has reported that individuals who took Truvada regularly and as directed experienced a reduction in their risk of contracting HIV by up to 92 percent.1
Does it cure HIV?
The short answer is no. There is no known cure for HIV at this point, but Truvada offers the opportunity for HIV-positive men to regain control of their sexual lives. The Guardian has reported that Truvada, which was used as an antiviral medication for many years before Gilead began manufacturing it for HIV purposes, suppresses risk of infection.2 What this means, in short, is that Truvada has the potential to allow HIV-positive men to have intercourse with those who aren’t infected without transmitting the disease. Though there are still being studies done on exactly how safe this is, it could possibly cause a serious dent in the contraction rate of the HIV epidemic if all goes well.
Cost and distribution
One of the immediate downsides of the medication is that it comes with a relatively hefty price tag. Multiple sources have reported that its average cost per user is over $1,000 each month. Luckily, many insurance carriers already supplement the cost of the medication, and more are expected to pick it up as time goes by. Purchasing it from Gilead can also allow for individuals to qualify for payment assistance with the medication.
1) Weiler, Elliot, Fox News, ‘New HIV Drug Could Lessen HIV Infection,’ 2/7/2015, http://fox2now.com/2015/02/17/new-hiv-drug-could-lessen-hiv-infection/
2) Staley, Peter & Rose, Matthew, The Guardian, ‘Antivirals Like Truvada Make it Possible for Gay Men to Love Without a Sense of Dread,’ 2/16/2015, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/16/truvada-medicine-hiv-aids-gay-menhttp://subversify.com/2015/02/21/does-truvada-really-work-in-prevention-of-hiv-2/