HIV experts have reportedly developed a pill that can prevent HIV from entering the human immune cells, and are urging public health officials across the state to help raise awareness.
HIV researcher, Bill Hardy, working with AIDS Resource Center in Dayton met with Montgomery County Health Commissioner Jeffrey Cooper on Thursday to solicit the health department’s help in spreading the word to doctors and local residents at risk of contracting HIV about the potentially life-saving benefits of ‘Truvada’.
According to Daytondailynews, Truvada, is an HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, it has been proven more than 90 percent effective in preventing infection when taken daily.
Both sides are planning to issue public statements soon.
“If they (health department) can be at the table, it kind of raises the gravitas and the importance of it,” Hardy said.
“This is a game-changer. It’s the next best thing to a vaccine. Can you imagine how many folks would still be alive today if we had this pill 30 years ago.”
Truvada, from drug-maker Gilead Sciences, combines two drugs that have been part of the anti-retroviral cocktail taken by HIV-positive patients for years, but it wasn’t approved for use outside that population until several years ago, Hardy said.
Truvada costs about $1,000 a month, and most private insurance companies and state Medicaid programs will cover it, he said.
ARC’s Dayton clinic is already supplying Truvada to clients, who are also required to undergo routine HIV testing. But many people in high-risk groups are still unaware of the drug’s availability, Hardy said.
“People ask all the time: What if there was a pill that could prevent HIV?” he said. “Now there is one. People need to know about it.”