CDC Recommends Daily HIV Pill

    Dr. Albert Liu, director of HIV Prevention Intervention Studies at San Francisco's Department of Public Health, holds a study pill for his Project T study in San Francisco, California, August 8, 2006.  Since the diagnosis of AIDS a quarter century ago, overcoming its risk, for example, by devising a vaccine has proved elusive. The United Nations says 25 million have died since the epidemic emerged. Yet antiretroviral drugs have kept people with the HIV virus that causes AIDS alive, giving hopes that drugs such as tenofovir (Viread) or the two-drug combination pill Truvada made by the California-based biotech company Gilead Sciences <GILD.O> could keep the healthy from getting HIV.  Picture taken August 8, 2006. REUTERS/Kimberly White (UNITED STATES).   To match feature AIDS PROTECTION - RTR1G87I

    Kimberly White/Reuters

    For the first time, federal health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Wednesday that Americans at risk of HIV/AIDS take a daily pill that has shown to prevent infection of HIV. That drug, Truvada, is currently used by fewer than 10,000 people, and would likely increase to 500,000 a year if the new guidelines are followed. The guidelines tell doctors to consider the drug regimen, called PrEP, short for pre-exposure prophylaxis, for gay men who have sex without condoms; heterosexuals with high-risk partners, such as drug injectors or male bisexuals who have unprotected sex; patients who regularly have sex with anyone they know is infected; and anyone who shares needles or injects drugs. HIV infection rates in the U.S. have remained steady at 50,000 a year over the past decade, despite official advice to rely on condoms.

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