August 10, 2012
CDC on Thursday issued updated interim guidance on the use of once-a-day Truvada to prevent HIV, saying providers should consider prescribing it for heterosexual women and men who are at high risk of infection. U.S. health officials previously advised doctors to give Truvada only to high-risk men who have sex with men (MSM).
Heterosexuals comprise more than a quarter of new HIV cases annually, CDC said. "That's not a portion of the epidemic we want to ignore," said Dr. Dawn Smith, lead author of CDC's new guidance.
While Truvada has been approved to treat HIV since 2004, studies showed it was effective as a preventive among gay and bisexual men. That prompted federal health officials last year to issue prescribing guidance for doctors treating MSM at high risk for infection. But studies also have found Truvada can help prevent HIV in heterosexual men and women. Just last month, the Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada as a preventive for healthy people at high risk for acquiring HIV.
CDC does not recommend the drug for all sexually active heterosexuals. Even in cases where one partner in a couple has HIV, regular condom use is generally effective protection. Smith said one possible scenario for prescribing Truvada as a preventive would be a couple that wanted to have a baby.
[PNU editor's note: The article, "Interim Guidance for Clinicians Considering the Use of Preexposure Prophylaxis for the Prevention of HIV Infection in Heterosexually Active Adults," was published in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2012;61(313):586-589).]