News / Health

US Physicians Hail Use of HIV Drug for Prevention

Truvada
Truvada
Jessica Berman
Physicians who work with HIV patients are hailing a new federal recommendation that .  Proponents say that could transform AIDS prevention from reliance solely on condoms to a regimen that includes the anti-retroviral drug.

The number of new HIV infections in the United States has stubbornly remained steady at 50,000 a year.  Public health officials have advocated the use of condoms almost exclusively for preventing the spread of the virus.  It is mostly transmitted by young, homosexual men who do not use condoms.

So doctors who treat patients infected with the AIDS virus are applauding the new federal recommendation that the antiretroviral drug Truvada be used to contain the spread of HIV and protect uninfected individuals.

Richard Elion is clinical research director at Washington, D.C.'s Whitman Walker Clinic.  

"To have a biological prevention is incredibly important to people who do not have lifestyles exactly as they should.  So, I think it is a valuable addition in the fight against HIV and to push us toward the day when we will have an AIDS-free generation," said Elion.

Studies have shown that Truvada is 99 percent effective in preventing HIV infection.  At Whitman-Walker, doctors have prescribed the drug to about 170 patients, although they, and public health officials, continue to recommend that condoms be used in conjunction with the drug regimen.  Generic versions of Truvada are made in India, and it has become the mainstay of AIDS treatment in poor countries.

Some doctors denounce the widespread use of the drug as encouraging promiscuity.  But Elion says it is a small, vocal minority that is against using the antiretroviral drug for HIV prevention.

"It really bothers me when I see people who object to people being offered an additional tool, not the only tool, but an additional tool to prevent HIV," he said.

In the United States, almost half of those who take Truvada are women.  The drug is recommended as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, for those at high risk of infection, including people who have sex with bisexual partners, gay men who do not use condoms and IV drug abusers.

Currently, those who prescribe Truvada for HIV protection in the U.S. are primarily doctors working with AIDS patients, like Elion.   But he hopes in time family doctors will see the value of making it available to those who are at high risk for infection with HIV.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid