ATLANTA (AP) – Experts are calling it a breakthrough for Africa in its effort to fight back against AIDS.
Two studies in Africa have found that an AIDS drug that was already shown to help prevent the spread of the virus in gay men also works for heterosexual men and women.
The drug is Truvada, which is already on pharmacy shelves to treat people with HIV. It’s made by a California company, Gilead Sciences.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which gave advice last fall for use of the drug among gays, is now developing guidance for heterosexuals in the United States.
But health officials around the world say it still isn’t clear what the impact of the drug will be. They say it’s not clear just how many people would want to take a pill every day to reduce their risk of HIV infection. And they wonder if it would make people become more sexually reckless.
Another issue is supply. The World Health Organization says 6.6 million people in Africa are now on AIDS drugs, but 9 million who are eligible for the treatment are on a waiting list.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)