Highly Effective HIV Prevention Pill Not Well Known Or Prescribed

Price, stigma, and ignorance are keeping more people from taking this protective medication.

By Wendy RigbyOctober 27, 2016 9:26 am, ,

From Texas Public Radio

It’s called Truvada, a once a day pill to protect people from acquiring HIV, the virus that can lead to deadly AIDS. Truvada was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012, but it’s not widely known or widely used, even after four years on the market.

“Initially we’re really targeting men who have sex with men,” said Junda Woo, MD, Medical Director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District.

Woo said in the U.S., the chances of acquiring HIV as a sexually active gay man are pretty high, especially for men of color. ”

If you’re white, it’s one in 11 over your lifetime. If you’re Latino, it’s one in four. If you’re African American, it’s one in two,” she stated.

David Nakaido of San Antonio, a 26-year-old software engineer with HEB, starting taking Truvada recently. “I first started taking Truvada back in March,” Nakaido said. “I started taking it because at the time, the guy I was dating was positive.”

Nakaido said he pays nothing for the drug which costs $1,500 a month. Insurance picks up part of his cost. The pharmaceutical company that makes the drug, Gilead, provides a co-pay card that covers the rest.

Nakaido hasn’t noticed any side effects, and he says taking the pill gives him peace of mind. ”

If you don’t want to protect yourself, that’s a choice you can make,” Nakaido added. “But if it’s your life that you care about, I say why not?”

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