Gilead Sciences Inc. has marketed Truvada since 2004 as a treatment for people who are already infected with the virus. But starting in 2010, studies showed that the drug could actually 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. Last year another study found that Truvada reduced infection by 75 percent in heterosexual couples in which one partner was infected with HIV and the other was not. Because Truvada is on the market to manage HIV, some doctors already prescribe it as a preventive measure.The FDA said possible serious side effects were kidney problems and bone loss but that these weren't common. The less serious but more common side effects were nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, the agency said. There are about 1.2 million people in the United States who are infected with HIV and about 50,000 new infections are diagnosed each year.
FDA Approves Drug That Prevents HIV Infection
The fight against HIV/AIDS just got easier for some. The Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada -- a combination of two medicines that make it harder for HIV to multiply in the body -- as the first drug shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection.