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FDA approves first pill to help prevent HIV

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection, a milestone in the 30-year battle against the virus that causes AIDS.

The agency approved Gilead Sciences' pill Truvada as a preventive measure for people who are at high risk of acquiring HIV, such as those who have sex with HIV-infected partners.

Gilead Sciences Inc. has marketed Truvada since 2004 as a treatment for people who are infected with the virus.

But company studies have shown the drug can prevent people from contracting HIV when used as a precautionary measure. A three-year study found that daily doses cut the risk of infection in healthy gay and bisexual men by 42 percent, when accompanied by condoms and counseling.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Heterosexuals and HIV

"A three-year study found that daily doses cut the risk of infection in healthy gay and bisexual men by 42 percent, when accompanied by condoms and counseling." -- According to the United Nations, over 90% of people in the world infected with HIV/AIDS are heterosexual, so why is the study focused on gay and bisexual men?

HIV Rates

Rightone, this is a FDA approved drug to be used in the United States. Where worldwide infection rates may lean towards heterosexuals as the majority of those infected, in the US new cases of infection are by far men who have sex with men (from the CDC's website). It should be noted that with a price tag of $14,000 a year it is unlikely that Truvada as HIV prevention will have any real effect on contraction rates.

CDC

According to the CDC website, "The CDC estimates that gay and bisexual men account for just 2% of the U.S. population, but accounted for 61% of all new HIV infections in 2009. They are 49% of the people living with HIV infections in 2008."

Since the FDA is a US department, they are concerned with the US and not the world. Gay and bisexual men are the largest group affected here.