HIV Prevention pill could this be catastrophic? Currently there is a row ongoing in US regarding marketing a drug as HOV prevention pill.
Pharmaceutical company which is producing medication Truvada that is already used in HIV treatment, they want it to be marketed as HIV prevention pill to those uninfected individuals. The company has applied to federal Food and drug Administration. If approved then this is first in its kind.
This happening has sparked debate amongst many public health advocates, who have strongly argued that the availability of such drug will discourage practice of safe sex and as a matter of fact increase more incidence of HIV.
Michael Weinstein who is president of the Los Angeles The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has said “I believe that this could be catastrophic in terms of HIV prevention.”
The approach to prevent HIV and the AIDS through new pharmaceuticals in the scientific circles is known as PrEP that is as ‘pre-exposure prophylaxis,’ in this person has to take antiretroviral medications daily.
National Institutes of Health has conducted clinical trials wherein daily intake of Truvada (blue pill) has reduced risk of contracting HIV to 44% in gay men, and 73% in heterosexual couples in study of Uganda and Kenya.
The executive director at The Forum for Collaborative HIV Research and also the visiting professor at UC Berkeley School of Public Health Veronica Miller has said “The drug is an incredible achievement, a wonderful new tool that could be available to people who need additional protection against the acquisition of HIV.” The study has generated enthusiasm in many medical researchers.
But Weinstein has said that research is still not convincing enough, and marketing of such drugs will discourage gay men- that is most risk group from using the condoms because of false notion that they are already protected, when there is a possibility that even with usage of medication people can still contract the HIV.
Dave Evans director of Project Inform said that “It comes down to choices, ‘For those who are high at risk, we want them to know that there is something new and a better option available to them. ‘We don’t want to see people give up safe sex practices”
Some HIV and AIDS awareness organizations say that while they wouldn’t want to see Truvada trump other forms of prevention, they are hopeful that the drug will help reach high-risk individuals.
Though the research conducted by The Annals of the Forum for Collaborative HIV Research has shown the drug is performing well in their clinical trials, safety risks is low, so these drugs can be prescribed as prevention off-label. But drug will have to be consumed daily else the risk will increase. Also a person can develop resistance to this drug.