A new HIV treatment has recently been introduced to the public. The treatment, known as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and sold under the brand name Truvada, “involves taking a pill once a day to prevent HIV infections in populations that are at high risk.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently recommended that people who have a high risk of getting HIV should be taking the pill. In an interview with Michael Martin of NPR, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who attended the 20th annual International Aids Conference (IAC) that took place in Melbourne, Australia, seeks to explain the recommendation by the WHO and the sudden interest in the Truvada treatment. He told Martin that it is taken both as a treatment and as a precautionary and prevention drug.

Fauci explained that the WHO is now extremely interested in PrEp because “the clinical trials have incontrovertibly shown that if used properly and if people take the pill—and this is a pill that has two drugs in it, that are highly effective against HIV.”

He also commented that for people who do take the pill consistently, “the efficacy is greater than 90 percent,” and that because of this level of success, “the (WHO) and our own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here in the United States are recommending that people in a few subcategories who are at particularly high risk should seriously consider taking this pre-exposure prophylaxis.”

Dr. Robert Grant, who also attended the 20th annual IAC, commented on the success of the drug’s implementation. He said that a daily dose was necessary because it keeps people in the habit of taking the medicine. He explained to Medscape that “daily dosing creates the highest drug levels, which provides somewhat of a cushion in case people miss a few doses,” and helps to ensure and maximize the effective nature of the treatment.

While the drug is now being used more regularly and shows promise for future HIV research, it is important to remember that Truvada serves only as a treatment and as prevention method and not as an actual cure for HIV.

– Jordyn Horowitz

Sources: NPR, Truvada
Photo: SheKnows