It was only time, you would think, the barrier was going to be but it took a mighty long time. But here we are. A drug proven to be 99% effective at preventing HIV has finally been approved for use as a preventative health measure by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, paving the way for it to be added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
Leading HIV prevention group ACON labelled the news “one of the most significant developments in HIV prevention in 30 years”.
The drug, called Truvada and made by pharmaceutical company Gilead, is used as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) by HIV negative people at high risk of acquiring HIV.
TRUVADA is a type of medicine called a nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) that is used to treat HIV-1 infection in adults and teenagers (12 and older).
TRUVADA is a combination therapy because it has 2 medicines in 1 pill– emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. TRUVADA is always used with other anti-HIV medicines to treat HIV-1 infection because TRUVADA alone is not a complete treatment.
Nevertheless, You must be HIV-negative before you start taking TRUVADA. You must get tested to make sure that you do not already have HIV-1 infection. Do not take TRUVADA to reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 unless you are confirmed to be HIV-negative.
How TRUVADA can help ?
- When used with another anti-HIV-1 medicine, TRUVADA helps make it harder for HIV-1 to multiply by blocking an enzyme in your body called reverse transcriptase.
- By helping to keep HIV-1 from multiplying in your body, TRUVADA helps lower the viral load, which means decreasing the amount of HIV in the blood
- TRUVADA may also help increase the number of CD4 cells when used with another anti-HIV-1 medicine
What is TRUVADA?
- TRUVADA is a prescription medicine used in 2 different ways:
- To treat HIV-1 infection in adults and teenagers (12 and older). When used for the treatment of HIV-1 infection, TRUVADA is always used together with other HIV-1 medicines.
- To help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection when used together with safer sex practices. This use is only for adults who are at a high risk of getting HIV-1. This includes HIV-negative men who have sex with men and who are at high risk of getting infected with HIV-1 through sex, and male-female sex partners when one partner has HIV-1 and the other does not.
- TRUVADA does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to prevent getting HIV-1 or passing HIV-1 to others. Always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids. Never reuse or share needles or other items that have body fluids on them. If you are taking TRUVADA with other HIV-1 medicines to treat HIV-1, you must keep taking TRUVADA to control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-1 related illnesses.
Cost of Truvada in the US ?
The drug has a monthly cash price of about $1,500 at local U.S. pharmacies. Fortunately, Truvada is usually covered by insurance and Gilead offers an assistance program that covers the first $200 of a co-pay. They also have a program that covers the full cost of the drug for eligible uninsured or underinsured patients. That should give you a vague approximation if you are from other parts of the world.