Truvada Is Being Hailed As A Pill That Can Prevent HIV

A pill that needs to be talked about.

Truvada, which is made by Gilead, is currently making waves on social media, as more people learn about the effectiveness of the HIV preventative pill.

To be clear, Truvada does not cure AIDS or HIV. As stated on their website, the pill is used in two other ways. First, it is used as a pill to help treat the HIV infection in people that are 12-years-old and above. It is "always used together with other HIV-1 medicines." 

The second use for Truvada, a once-a-day pill, is for patients who are at a high risk for HIV. As explained on the official website, "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."

Although the pill has been around since 2004, as The Huffington Post pointed out, it wasn't approved by the FDA until 2012. Since its approval, only 3,000 Americans have begun to take the medication. This is a small amount of people, compared to "the half-million Americans the pharmaceutical company estimated would be good candidates for the drug," as The Huffington Post added.

However, two new recent studies are looking to raise awareness about Truvada.

One study was carried out in San Francisco and another in the UK. These two studies were conducted to show how Truvada is in fact a useful measure in preventing people from contracting the HIV virus.

Known as a PrEP ("pre-exposure prophylaxis"), it was first handed out to 657 gay and bisexual men ages 20-68  in San Francisco, who were monitored from 2012 to 2015, Reuters reports. 

At the end of the study, which was published in the Oxford journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, it was found that no new patients tested positive for HIV. However, due to some patients no longer using condoms, there was an increase in STIs. Even so, Dr. Jonathan Volk, a physician working at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center, went on to say, "It's likely that without the pill we would have seen some new HIV infections," as per PulseHeadlines.

One problem with the study was that it did not have a non-PrEp control group. A second study with a control group was therefore conducted in the UK. This time there were two new infections out of 100 test subjects per year.

While studies still seem to need be conducted in order to understand the full potential and effectiveness of Truvada, it is a sign of hope for many men and women who no longer want to live in fear.