Earlier this month, the FDA approved a new drug in the fight against HIV, one that lowers the risk of transmitting the virus to a partner. The drug, Truvada, is the first of its kind, working to prevent transmission in high risk communities before it happens. While this drug cannot totally eliminate the risk of contracting the virus, used in combination with other safe sex practices, this drug substantially alleviates the chance of contracting the virus. One study found that correct use of the drug lowered the risk of contracting HIV by 75% in heterosexual couples and 42% in same-sex couples. These findings mark a substantial milestone in the effort to reduce the spread of HIV. Many in the public health community are hopeful that the approval of this drug will be able to reduce the rate at which the virus spreads. Over the past 15 years, the rate of HIV infection has held steady at about 50,000 new cases per year in the US.
The FDA’s approval comes during the inaugural National HIV Awareness Month and marks another step forward in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic. While the approval of this drug signals continued hope for those affected by HIV and their families, more than 1.2 million Americans are living with the virus. Unfortunately, 1 in 5 of those infected with the virus is unaware of their status. Luckily, Planned Parenthood MN, SD, ND offers rapid HIV testing, making it easy to learn your HIV status. In 2011, Planned Parenthood MN, SD, ND provided more than 15,000 rapid HIV tests. Rapid testing makes knowing your HIV status easier than ever.
Moira, Web Correspondent, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Datoka