Lifestyle & Belief

First HIV prevention drug approved by FDA in US


Bottles of antiretroviral drug Truvada are shown at Jack's Pharmacy on November 23, 2010 in San Anselmo, California.


Justin Sullivan

The US has approved its first HIV prevention drug.

The Wall Street Journal reported the Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved HIV drug Truvada for use in certain healthy people to help prevent them from contracting the virus that causes AIDS.

The drug was previosly used in combination with other drugs to treat HIV, and now can be used for the first time to treat those considered at "high risk" of becoming infected.

People who have an HIV-infected partner will now be able take the daily pill, according to the Journal.

More from GlobalPost: National HIV Testing Day: A delicate balance

"Today's approval marks an important milestone in our fight against HIV," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, said in a press release. "Every year, about 50,000 U.S. adults and adolescents are diagnosed with HIV infection, despite the availability of prevention methods and strategies."

An estimated 1.2 million Americans are currently living with HIV, despite the availability of preventive measures such as condoms.

CBS News reported the FDA strongly recommended against using Truvada's to prevent disease transmission in individuals who may already have HIV.

A government study in 2010 found the pill cut infection risk in healthy gay and bisexual men by 42 percent, when used with condoms and STD counseling, CBS News wrote. Another study found the pill "may reduce HIV risk by 75 percent among heterosexual couples in which one partner is infected with the virus."