A medicine that was long used to treat those with the virus has started to be prescribed as a HIV preventive drug.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis, known as PrEP is a preventive protocol for people at higher risk of getting infected with HIV, like those who have HIV-positive partners. It requests the administration of a pill of Truvada once a day. Simple like that.
Tuvada blocks an enzyme of the HIVwhich would replicate in the host’s body, making copies of itself and infecting the organism.
While some practitioners argue that it is revolutionary, a survey from earlier this year revealed that about 34 percent of primary care nurses and doctors haven’t heard of PrEP.
At the same time PrEP is highly debated with some HIV/AIDS care providers arguing that it could lead to an increase in the risky sexual behaviour of people infected with HIV, encouraging the lack of protection during sex.
On the other side, the CDC recommends PrEP on their website, arguing for its effectiveness. According to the information issued on their website, PrEP reduces the risk of infection with up to 92 percent for people who are at high risk of contracting HIV.
Also, the CDC recommends using a combination of both PrEP and condoms for a better protection when having sex with an HIV-positive partner.
Besides the CDC, another strong voice who recommends the treatment is the World Health Organization. If last year the organization was recommending the treatment for men having sex with men, now it has changed its position, arguing that PrEP should be used by anybody who is at high risk of infection.
However, PrEP encounters criticism even from doctors who claim that they wouldn’t recommend it to their partners since it might promote promiscuity and even homosexuality. Others are arguing that with the increase in the rates of the persons taking Truvada the rates of persons using condoms will decrease even more leading to an increase in the occurrence rate of other STDs.
As a specialist in HIV care, Dr. David Parks says that he prescribed PrEP to almost 200 patients and none of them became more sexually active or renounced using condoms because of it.
Parks believes that denying this drug to patients is ‘almost criminal’ especially since the job of a doctor is to provide the best options for their patients.
Dr. Rupa Patel from the School of Medicine at Washington University, who runs a PrEP program claims that the treatment is not going to become more accessible before the relationships between doctors and patients won’t change.
Unfortunately too few doctors are open to talk about a patient’s sex life and about sexual health in a non-judgmental manner.
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