Worries Dog HIV-Blocking Little Blue Pill

Truvada could create drug-resistant HIV strain
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2012 5:10 PM CDT
This May 26, 2006, file photo, shows a close up of Gilead Sciences Inc.'s Truvada pill in a lab in a Foster City, Calif.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
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(Newser) – A drug designed to block HIV infection comes with a little hitch: Used incorrectly, it could invite infection or create a resistant strain that renders the drug useless. The very FDA panel that recommended approval for the drug, Truvada, tangled with these dilemmas, the New York Times reports: What if people at risk of contracting HIV take Truvada intermittently—even as an occasional party drug—and contract the disease? And what if a drug-resistant strain emerges?

The other side called such worries paternalistic, and argued for giving people a powerful tool to protect themselves—even though one major study showed that only 10% of Truvada users stuck to their daily regimen. And side effects like initial stomach upset make Truvada even harder to stick with. But the FDA typically follows its panel's advice, the Times notes, so Truvada should soon be available for those who need it—like gay men with multiple partners, prostitutes, and people in relationships with HIV-positive partners.

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