Controversial HIV drug approved

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Controversial drug is said to prevent HIV

The drug remains controversial even after Truvada is approved in the United States. While advocates like Margaret Hamburg of the US drug approval agency FDA speak of a "milestone in the fight against HIV", the critics point to the weaknesses of this preventive therapy. Users would be under false security, the viruses could develop resistance and the costs would be significantly too high.

The HIV drug Truvada, newly approved in the USA by the US pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, is intended to significantly reduce the risk of HIV infection during sexual intercourse with HIV-positive people. Healthy people living in partnership with people infected with HIV will therefore be recommended to take Truvada preventively in the future. However, the preventive is not a replacement for condoms, but only improves the protection against infection when used at the same time, according to the US authority's announcement on the official approval of Truvada. However, since the study data on the benefits and risks of the HIV preventive drug are not yet complete, the costs are relatively high and the development of resistance to the HI virus is feared, massive criticism of the approval of the controversial drug comes from many sides.

Taking HIV preventive medication if there is a high risk of infection? In future, people with a high risk of infection will be able to take the HIV preventive Truvada once a day in the USA and thus build up preventive protection against HIV - at least according to the theory. The FDA justified its approval of the drug with two studies that conclude that Truvada significantly reduces the risk of HIV infection for both heterosexual and homosexual people. In heterosexual couples in which one partner was HIV positive, one of the clinical studies had shown a 75 percent reduction in the risk of infection for the healthy partners. In the other study, the risk of infection among homosexuals decreased by 73 percent after taking Truvada. Reason enough for the FDA expert Margaret Hamburg to call the approval of Truvada a "milestone in the fight against HIV". Truvada had previously been prescribed combination HIV therapy to people with a positive HIV diagnosis, but the preventive use approved in the United States is a novelty.

Risks associated with the HIV prevention product Truvada However, numerous questions remain unanswered regarding the HIV prevention product and the results of further studies are not expected until a few months from now. According to the critics, the previous study data are not sufficient to finally assess the effectiveness of the pill - especially in the female organism. In addition, there is a risk that users could weigh themselves in false safety by taking such drugs. Some doctors have also expressed concern that the HI viruses may develop resistance to Truvada. Furthermore, the efforts of the international community in the fight against AIDS in recent years have had an effect even without such preparations. In the preface to the current report of the United Nations HIV / AIDS Program (UNAIDS), UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said, "There is a real chance that new infections in children will be eradicated in the next three years." Also for HIV - New infections overall, which had already decreased by 20 percent in the past ten years, are expected to decrease further in the UNAIDS report.

Unnecessary or useful HIV drug? This raises the question of whether the preventive use of Truvada is actually needed to curb HIV. Especially since there is no way around contraception and Truvada can only be used as a supplement. Even the long-term supply of medication to healthy people may be a lucrative business for the manufacturer of the medicinal products, but critics criticize it sharply. Not only because there may be significant side effects, but also because Truvada incurs relatively high costs of around 1,000 euros per month. For example, the announced approval of Truvada as an HIV prevention agent will also be a topic at the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington among the expected 25,000 participants. (fp)

Read on:
HIV protection: anti-AIDS pill not a miracle cure
AIDS: drug is said to protect against HIV infection

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Video: The HIV Drug Stopping Aids In Its Tracks 2014


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