Truvada, or PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis) is a drug that people can take to prevent contracting HIV. Truvada has been shown to be around 95 percent effective in preventing HIV. Although there are conflicting studies, if used along with condoms, your risk of contracting HIV becomes far less great.
Truvada is taken once daily, unlike its predecessor PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis), which is only taken for 28 days after a night of unprotected sex. Truvada is often referred to as the HIV birth control, and PEP as Plan B, or the morning-after pill.
Truvada has been a drug used to treat HIV for over ten years, but in 2012 it was approved by the FDA to take as a preventive drug. Due in part to its quiet release, only one tenth of those that could benefit from taking the drug do so.
One of the roadblocks seems to be that not everyone believes this drug should be widely used. Critics argue that access to the drug could promote promiscuity, reduce condom use and possibly increase the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
There are also fears that users could not take it as religiously as prescribed, opening up the door to infecting others unknowingly. Also, like women of the '60s and birth control, there’s a whole wave of social and emotional consequences that can’t possibly be predicted.
Now it seems that the job is up to the drug companies to get the word out about Truvada in the right way. Gilead, the company that produces Truvada released a statement that said it's “an important public-health intervention and not a commercial opportunity.”
In late 2016, the European Commission approved the use of Truvada and it has also started to become widely used in Australia. The drug has the potential to change the world for many people...it just might take longer than they had hoped.