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For some time it has been said that to prevent the spread of HIV people should use condoms. Now doctors say that a pill taken daily could prevent HIV.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that a drug called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) should be taken by those who are at high risk for contracting HIV. This new recommendation, according to CNN, was based on several international and national studies that used data from at risk populations.
At risk populations include gay and bisexual men, couples in which one person is HIV positive (homosexual and heterosexual couples) and injection drug users.
Men who have sex with men are the hardest hit -- while they make up 2% of the U.S. population, they account for 63% of all new infections each year, according to the CDC. Heterosexuals make up 25% of all new annual infections; 9% are injection drug users.
All of the studies showed this drug can help the risk of infection by 90 percent.
"While a vaccine or cure may one day end the HIV epidemic, PrEP is a powerful tool that has the potential to alter the course of the U.S. HIV epidemic today," Dr.Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS.
According to Slate Magazine, this drug, called Truvada, can prevent HIV, but is hardly taken by anyone.
Condoms, what is regularly recommended to prevent HIV, can break. Truvada can prevent the disease more reliably. To be considered effective it has to be taken every day. Now, the drug isn’t cheap. It can cost anywhere from $1,300 to $1,700 for a month’s supply.
Even though HIV is preventable, the U.S. still sees 50,000 new infections each year.