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.
     

    “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

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora