Truvada Approved for Preventative Drug for HIV

At long last the American government has decided to stop discriminating against people on grounds of gender and sexual preference. Because of limited supply and on the grounds that they were at more risk of contracting AIDS, US health officials have been recommending to doctors that they only prescribe Truvada to homosexual and bisexual males. Truvada is an AIDS prevention treatment that is now available for women and heterosexual males.

The rationale behind this change is that heterosexual people now make up more than a quarter of all new HIV diagnoses each year in the US. This is the official figure from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. Truvada has been available as a treatment for AIDS for 8 years but only last month was it approved as a preventive drug.

The CDC are saying that the quarter of new cases can no longer be ignored. However they are not recommending Truvada for any sexually active people who ask for it. Even if one person in a relationship is HIV positive, a condom is still the best method of preventing the transmission of the disease. Truvada may for example be prescribed in cases where couples are trying to become pregnant. It is very expensive however since the pill is a once daily dose costing anything up to $12,000 per year. It is possible to have the cost covered by some medicaid programs. Truvada is manufactured by a company called Gilead Sciences and they admit to not knowing how many people are actually using it as a preventive measure.

[box type=”important”]The CDC, other health experts and AIDS activists say that not enough education is being done, especially among young people, to make them aware of the dangers of HIV/AIDS. New infection rates are unacceptably high and young people do not understand how it is to live with the condition. [/box]

Education for the young of America must play a key part in public health efforts to end the AIDS epidemic. HIV contagion can be contained and prevented relatively easily, yet every passing year hundreds of thousands of younger people contract the virus. In ‘09 alone, there were almost a million new HIV infections in the World with patients aged 15 to 24. While in 2010, 5 million plus 15-24 year olds are living with HIV.

Getting basic HIV/AIDS information to young people will give them the ability to protect themselves from contracting the disease. Young people are more sexually active than other age groups and also more prone to drug use. They are thus more vulnerable to sexually transmitted HIV, and infection through drug-use. Knowledge and safe practices are the only route for young people to avoid and or reduce the risk of HIV infection. The earlier the education interventions -the better. Because, for youngsters not yet engaging in high risk behaviors, AIDS information is vital so that they can be ready for any situation that puts them at risk as they mature.

[box type=”note”]AIDS education also reduces the taboo and discrimination surrounding AIDS. Facts drown out the hysterical falsehoods that only create a breeding ground for continuing infection. [/box]

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Claire Al-Aufi

Claire Al-Aufi is a contributing author for Hive Health Media who provides updates on health and fitness news.

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