TICKER: HIV prevention pill may not be available for everybody

The first preventive pill for HIV (the virus that causes AIDS)  has been heralded as a positive step in the fight against AIDS in the United States. However, experts say only a small percentage of those at risk will benefit from it. U.S. health regulators last month approved Gilead Sciences Inc’s drug called Truvada, which is already used globally to treat the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

A number of factors will limit the drug’s use, which has proven to prevent HIV. Many people in the U.S. who are at the most of infection, as well as their sexual partners, do not have consistent access to healthcare. Even for those who have coverage, insurance reimbursement for a drug that costs $14,000-a-year drug is very trivial. In addition to cost, therapy with the drug would require otherwise healthy young people to take a pill each day and show up to be tested for HIV every three months.

Scientists in the medical field are exploring a variety of tactics for using AIDS drug formulations to prevent new cases of HIV. These tactics  include gels, vaginal rings, and long-acting injections.

Dr. Paul Volberding, director of the Center for AIDS Research at the University of California at San Francisco, claims Truvada could become very valuable for “a small fraction of people” who know they have a high risk of exposure. The people mainly consist of female sex workers whose clients won’t use condoms and gay men who decide to engage in riskier sexual activity

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