FDA panel backs Truvada as PrEP

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee, has recommended Truvada for approval for prescription as HIV prevention for those most at risk of infection.  

The FDA is not automatically required to follow the panel recommendations however it normally does.  They are expected to make a decision by 15th June. 

Truvada combines the drugs Tenofovir and Emtricitabine and is already used in many Anti-Retroviral Treatment regimes for HIV+ people.  Many activists and health care professionals argued against this move on efficacy and safety grounds, however the panel voted for a number of approved uses, including amongst men who have sex with men at risk of HIV infection and also for HIV-negative partners in sero-doscordant relationships.  The closest vote—12 in favour and 8 against, with two abstentions—was for other individuals at risk for acquiring HIV through sexual activity.  

The issues involved in emerging new prevention technologies as they relate to sex workers are examined in the APNSW publication 'Sex Workers and the New Era of HIV Prevention and Care' as well as in this NSWP Briefing Paper.

Lots of sex workers remember the days of compulsory STI treatment, including Periodic Presumptive Treatment, and in some countries this is still happening. There are many questions, still to addressed, about whether this new treatment can be implemented within a rights based framework that protects sex workers occupational health and safety, including the right to continue to use condoms. We expect sex workers to be part of the discussions. The NSWP briefing paper on new prevention technologies will be updated once the drug receives final approval.

For more coverage and commentary see these articles in AIDSMEDS andthe Chicago Tribune.