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CDC issues guidance on using Truvada as an HIV preventative

January 29, 2011|By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
(Justin Sullivan / Getty…)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is in a tough spot. It has said repeatedly that the HIV-fighting drug Truvada may be used to treat HIV in gay and bisexual men, but it initially issued a cautionary note on using the drug for prevention before it could issue more detailed guidelines for its use.

HIV drug: An earlier version of this post may have given the impression that the CDC was opposed in all instances to the use of Truvada as a means of preventing HIV. The CDC says it offered cautions on the drug's use as a preventive until further guidance was issued.

This week, acknowledging the interest in using Truvada as a preventative, the CDC released guidance saying that if used as a preventive measure, the drug should be prescribed only to those men at high risk of contracting the disease -- those who have unprotected sex with other men and have multiple partners, for example.

The announcement comes two months after a study showed that taking the drug regularly could block 72.8% of new infections from the AIDS virus. But the Food and Drug Administration has not approved Truvada for such preventive uses.

Meanwhile, as the San Francisco Chronicle points out, Truvada doesn't come cheap -- and at $12,000 per year to treat HIV infection, it could increase the gap in risk between those men who can afford it and those who can't.

Here's some information on HIV infection rates among men who have sex with men.

Thoughts on the drug's use? Post them below.

Follow me on Twitter @LAT_aminakhan.

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