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Truvada: A Pill That Protects Against HIV

By Michele Blacksberg RN HERWriter
 
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the pill Truvada works against HIV
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Preventive practices help reduce HIV transmission. However, for those who may not have practiced prevention or have been otherwise exposed to HIV, there is a second chance.

Truvada was approved in July 2012 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be taken within 72 hours of close contact to someone with HIV either through sex or an occupational exposure like a needle stick. The sooner Truvada is taken, the better.

Truvada is a drug used for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to HIV. It has been coined the HIV "morning after pill". Truvada contains two drugs, tenofovir and emtricitabine, which will need to be taken once a day for 28 days. Sometimes another drug such as Kaletra may be added to treatment, depending on the person’s exposure.

Truvada can also be taken daily long term as a method to protect those who have ongoing risk of exposure to HIV as pre-exposure prophylaxis.

In order to take Truvada, you must first test negative for HIV and you will need to continue being tested in the months to come to make sure you remain HIV-negative.

Truvada does have some significant side effects, according to the Truvada website. Serious liver problems can occur, along with a risk of lactic acid buildup that could cause a medical emergency.

Lactic acid buildup may appear in the form of warning symptoms such as muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, irregular heartbeat or difficulty breathing. It is important to seek medical attention if these side effects occur.

Truvada is not inexpensive, it costs about $14,000 for a year of treatment according to Reuters, which is about $1,200 per a month. However, those who cannot afford the medication may qualify for funding through an assistance program offered by Gilead, the maker of Truvada. Learn more at http://www.truvada.com/truvada-patient-assistance/

There are also clinics that offer reduced pricing. Contact the National AIDS Hotlines for your state to find locations that can provide Truvada at 1-800-232-4636 or at http://www.thebody.com/index/hotlines/state.html/

It is best to not delay by shopping for the best price if you have been exposed to HIV.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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