WASHINGTON DC - The US Food and Drug administration recently approve an antiretroviral drug that can reduce the risk of HIV in uninfected adults.
The drug, commonly called Truvada, does not eliminate the risk, but it greatly reduces it, Taing Tek Hong, a Florida-based physician, told “Hello VOA” last Thursday.
Use of the drug does not take away the need for condoms and regular HIV tests, he said.
The drug was approved in the US on July 16, as a daily oral antiretroviral, Taing Tek Hong said. Taken every day, it can reduce, “but does not eliminate,” the risk of HIV.
“With strict adherence, the risk of HIV acquisition can be reduced by more than 90 percent,” he said. “Individuals who take this drug still need to use condoms and should have regular HIV and sexually transmitted infections testing.”
The drug’s side effects include nausea, vomiting and dizziness, he said. These can decrease after the first month. Additionally, he said, “a small but significant decline in bone mineral density can occur.”
There is also a chance the new treatments can help couples, he said.
“At the present time, an HIV negative woman and her HIV positive husband can conceive by using a process called sperm washing,” he said. “It separates the sperm cells from the semen and tests them for HIV. The HIV negative sperm cells can then be injected into the woman’s uterus.”
But a new study conducted in Switzerland shows that antiretroviral therapy can work, where men receive suppressive therapy and women take the therapy before potential conception. “Without using any barrier methods, there was no transmission of HIV and a 75 percent success rate in pregnancy,” he said.