In another ground breaking move, Gilead Sciences are giving thousands access to the new HIV prevention pill, called PrEP. These tests are currently being run in New South Wales, Australia and include participants mostly from France and Canada. Trials are run completely double blind, meaning that participants do not know if the drugs they are taking are PrEP or placebos and neither do the doctors!
This allows the results to be seen as realistically as possible since there is no bias formed. Results showed that 99% of people who maintained PrEP usage did not get infected. The 1% that did get infected were not strict in their usage of this drug.
PrEP (Pre- Exposure Prophylaxis) is known by the brand name Truvada, which a lot of my HIV infected friends swear is the best anti-retroviral drug ever. Victorian Health Minister, Jill Hennessy, will soon make known the clinical guidelines to be used by doctors when prescribing PrEP in the hopes that this will encourage more people to use this medication. Long term toxicity and effects were not monitored meaning that for now, doctors would have to weigh risks against benefits.
If Gilead is able to make this drug affordable enough to be available worldwide, it will be giving new life to people especially in countries where HIV is progressing at such a rate that we fear it is only a matter of time before those who are negative now, become positive. It will also be a lifesaver for those who are at greater risk of getting infected e.g. Surgeons, Lab technicians, Nurses, Manicurists etc.
Not forgetting people who are negative yet fall in love with HIV positive people.
Please note that PrEP does not and will never replace safe sex practices. It is meant for those who find themselves at high risk in their daily lives. Like the normal retroviral treatment, PrEP is to be taken every day without fail, while still practicing safe sex. It should not be used as a reason to ignore safe sex practices as HIV is not the worst STD out there.