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At-risk individuals who are HIV-negative may now protect themselves from infection with the help of the antiretroviral Truvada, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This medication must be combined with safer sex practices and regular STD testing.
Truvada is available for the treatment of HIV in patients aged 12 years and older. The FDA's new approval may help prevent infection among HIV-negative individuals who have infected partners or engage in high-risk behavior.
"Today's approval marks an important milestone in our fight against HIV," said FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D. "Every year, about 50,000 U.S. adults and adolescents are diagnosed with HIV infection, despite the availability of prevention methods and strategies to educate, test, and care for people living with the disease. New treatments as well as prevention methods are needed to fight the HIV epidemic in this country."
The agency's latest decision about Truvada is based on two clinical trials. One included serodiscordant couples, in which two individuals had differing HIV statuses. The other included men and transgender women who had sex with men and engaged in other risky behavior, such as inconsistent condom use.
Truvada helped decrease the risk of HIV infection in these studies by 75 and 42 percent compared to a placebo, respectively.
HIV-negative individuals who receive a prescription for Truvada still need to undergo regular STD testing in order to monitor their health status.
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