Recently you may have heard or read the news that the FDA just approved Truvada for PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis). What you might not understand is the details of how it works.
An HIV negative person can take Truvada to reduce their chance of HIV infection. That being said, with Truvada you cannot miss any doses and condoms MUST still be used. Studies prior to its approval show that it is 44% effective in a reduction of HIV infection. There are a lot of things we do not yet know about Truvada being used in this manner such as HIV resistance, which is a concern for all activist and advocates alike.
This treatment is a great tool for sero-discordant couples (HIV Positive/HIV Negative) who always use protection and for whom adherence to a one-pill-a-day regimen is not an issue, and don’t forget the side effects. The drug is tolerated well by most, however, some might experience diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and gas. Also be prepared to shell out a hefty $14,000 for the drug since most HMO’s are not going to cover the drug. Bottom line, this drug has a lot of hype surrounding it but it won’t allow you to stop wearing condoms.
Aaron Laxton is an HIV activist and “Mama’s Kinky Educator.” Follow him on Twitter at @aaronlaxton. He serves on the Community Advisory Board for the AIDS Clinical Trials Group as well as the Community Scientific Sub-Committee. He lives in St. Louis and his column runs monthly.