Science and Tech


CDC Recommends Daily Pill To Prevent HIV Infections

CDC officials are recommending people at high risk for contracting the HIV virus take a daily antiretroviral pill to help prevent infection.
Posted at 2:57 PM, May 15, 2014

Federal health officials are recommending a new preventative treatment in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

"​The U.S. government is recommending hundreds of thousands of people at risk for the disease take a daily pill called Truvada to prevent infection. About 50,000 new HIV cases are reported each year." (Via ABC)

This advice from officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges health care providers to use pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, which simply provides a daily antiretroviral drug to patients at risk of contracting HIV.

Truvada, which is a type of these daily antiretroviral drugs, is a combination of two medicines that work together to keep the HIV virus from establishing a permanent infection when someone is exposed to it through sex or injection drug use. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Fersolieslava)

And when PrEP is used consistently, the CDC says it has been shown to reduce HIV infection rates by up to a staggering 90 percent.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a news release Wednesday: "HIV infection is preventable, yet every year we see some 50,000 new HIV infections in the United States. PrEP, used along with other prevention strategies, has the potential to help at-risk individuals protect themselves and reduce new HIV infections in the United States."

And The New York Times has high hopes for the little blue pills, too: "If broadly followed, the advice could transform AIDS prevention in the United States — from reliance on condoms, which are effective but unpopular with many men, to a regimen that relies on an antiretroviral drug."

NBC reports the CDC recommends the daily pill regimen for people who are in an ongoing sexual relationship with someone with HIV and for those who don't use condoms with people who are at risk for HIV.

Health officials say they hope they can implement these new PrEP guidelines soon to save as many lives as possible.