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U.S. health officials recommend that people at high risk for HIV infection be given daily antiretroviral drugs, such as Truvada.
U.S. health officials recommended Wednesday that people at high risk for HIV infection be given daily pills to help prevent it.
The new guidelines, issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urge health care providers to consider pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, which provides daily antiretroviral drugs to those at risk of infection.
“HIV infection is preventable, yet every year we see some 50,000 new HIV infections in the United States,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said. “PrEP, used along with other prevention strategies, has the potential to help at-risk individuals protect themselves and reduce new HIV infections in the U.S.”
The recommendation follows a 2010 study that found that Truvada, Gilead Science’s pill already used to treat HIV — human immunodeficiency virus — was more than 90 percent effective at preventing HIV infections among those who took the drugs.
In 2012, the federal Food and Drug Administration approved the daily drug combination of 300 milligrams of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and 200 milligrams of emtricitabine for prevention treatment.
The strategy should be recommended to certain people at substantial risk for infection, the CDC said, including people in an ongoing sexual relationship with someone with HIV and those who don’t use condoms and have sex with people at risk for HIV, including injection drug users.
The guidelines offer the first comprehensive instructions from CDC for PrEP. Users should have an HIV test before they start treatment to make sure they’re not already infected, the guidelines say.
About 1.2 million people in the U.S. live with HIV and about 50,000 new infections are diagnosed each year, the CDC says.
First published May 14 2014, 4:54 PM
JoNel Aleccia has been a senior health reporter and editor for NBC News since 2008. In that role, Aleccia is responsible for breaking news, enterprise and investigative stories about consumer health and health policy issues for NBCNews.com and TODAY.com. Send her an email here.
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Aleccia joined msnbc.com and, later, NBC News, after more than 25 years as a reporter, editor and columnist covering health, education, social issues and regional government at newspapers throughout the Northwest.
Aleccia is the co-recipient of two Joan M. Friedenberg Online Journalism Awards, in 2009 and 2011, fromthe National Press Club. She also has received multiple regional and local journalism awards. Aleccia lives in Redmond, Wash. She is married and the mother of two grown children.