South Africans who engage in unprotected sex can now take a pill called Truvada which prevents HIV infection. The pill was approved by the Medicines Control Council during a meeting in November.
The control council said on Tuesday that it is already used in combination with another antiretroviral (ARV) as treatment for HIV‚ but has not been licensed legally for prevention.
The truvada drug works up to 100% of the time if taken daily and was approved as prevention by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2012.The prevention pill has faced opposition in the US from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation which said it encouraged gay men to become promiscuous.
But now South Africans can prove them wrong because their doctors can prescribe the drug as prevention. Aspen applied to the Medicines Control Council for the use of the drug as prevention in December 2013. It has taken two years to be approved.
Deputy Director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Professor Linda Gail Bekker has campaigned for the licensing of the drug because she says it is cheaper and better to prevent HIV infection especially in high risk groups such as young women‚ sex workers and gay and bisexual men