News / Health

US Panel Recommends Approval of Drug to Prevent HIV

Dr. Lisa Sterman holds a bottle of Truvada pills that she prescribes for about a dozen patients at high risk for developing AIDS, at her office in San Francisco, May 10, 2012.Dr. Lisa Sterman holds a bottle of Truvada pills that she prescribes for about a dozen patients at high risk for developing AIDS, at her office in San Francisco, May 10, 2012.
x
Dr. Lisa Sterman holds a bottle of Truvada pills that she prescribes for about a dozen patients at high risk for developing AIDS, at her office in San Francisco, May 10, 2012.
Dr. Lisa Sterman holds a bottle of Truvada pills that she prescribes for about a dozen patients at high risk for developing AIDS, at her office in San Francisco, May 10, 2012.
Derek Henkle

The recommendation by a U.S government-funded panel of doctors and scientists that healthy people should be able to use an AIDS drug to prevent contracting the HIV virus has many advocates hoping the U.S. goal of an “AIDS-free generation” may actually be more within reach. The potentially life-saving effects of the prophylactic use of Truvada are in the spotlight.
 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration held a marathon 12-hour hearing Thursday to evaluate evidence that Truvada, a once-daily pill currently being used to treat AIDS patients, also could be used to prevent HIV infection in healthy individuals.
 

A panel of independent medical experts voted overwhelmingly to back Truvada’s use to prevent HIV and urged the FDA to approve the drug for use by those who are considered to be at a high risk for contracting the disease.
 

US Panel Recommends Approval of Drug to Prevent HIVi
|| 0:00:00
X
Derek Henkle
May 12, 2012 12:33 AM
The recommendation by a U.S government-funded panel of doctors and scientists that healthy people should be able to use an AIDS drug to prevent contracting the HIV virus has many advocates hoping the U.S. goal of an “AIDS-free generation” may actually be more within reach. VOA’s Derek Henkle has more on the potentially life-saving effects of the prophylactic use of Truvada.

“Using Truvada or pre-exposure prophylaxis, to prevent acquiring HIV, for an HIV negative person is a game changer, and it’s something that I believe is really going to take us to the next level," said Kali Lindsey, who is with the National Minority AIDS Council.

Some critics have said Truvada could give people a false sense of confidence and lead to a reduced use of condoms. But HIV educator Brad Miller believes approval of the drug will actually promote a dialogue on condom usage.
 

“They’ll know more about their health and what they can do to protect their health, versus being told what to do about their health,” said Miller.
 

Lisa and her husband, Tracy, who is HIV positive, make up one of the estimated 140,000 couples in the U.S. with mis-matching HIV statuses.
 

“This woman cared more about me than what I was infected with. Because the average person around here when they hear it, would go running the opposite direction," said Tracy.
 

Lisa chose not to cut ties, but instead to tie the knot [get married], and also to try Truvada.
 

“I want to remain healthy, so that in the times of his need, that I’m there to assist. So when PrEP came along I jumped at the idea," said Lisa.

Optimism among advocates, users
 

PrEP refers to pre-exposure prophylaxis, and Tracy is a strong supporter.
 

“PrEP helps, it does. I think that’s one of the most positive things they could have come up with, along with their research of how to combat the disease," said Tracy.
 

Currently wait-listed for a trial where she would receive free PrEP drugs, Lisa worries about the cost - as high as $1,500 per month.
 

“I just hope that they approve the PrEP, so that many others that are living in the situation that I’m living in will have this resource available to them,” she said.
 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is not required to follow the panel's recommendation on Truvada, but FDA officials concluded the high-profile session by saying more must be done to prevent more HIV infections from occurring.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid