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Should HIV Drug Truvada Be Used for Prevention

A decision on May 10 by an FDA advisory panel to support the use of the drug Truvada to prevent HIV in certain high-risk populations is causing concern among many medical professionals who treat HIV patients.

Truvada is already used for treatment of HIV. The action marks the first time that the panel has supported the use of an antiretroviral drug for healthy individuals in order to prevent the spread of HIV. The full FDA usually, but not always, follows the recommendation of the panel, which in this case voted 19-3 in support of Truvada’s prophylactic use.

Some critics of the action are concerned that the medication might not be effective for this new use and could actually increase risk. They’re also concerned about the drug’s side effects.

We asked Einstein/Montefiore HIV specialist Rodney Wright, M.D., for his views on the panel’s action. As a doctor on the frontlines of HIV, Dr. Wright has a unique perspective on the potential risks and benefits that might come from taking a pill each day versus relying only on condoms and other methods of infection prevention.

What do you think of the F.D.A. panel’s decision? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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