Black AIDS Institute Applauds FDA Approval Of PrEP

PrEP Pill bottle

PrEP – Antiretroviral Pre-exposure Prophylaxis

The Black AIDS Institute recently announced its support of the FDA’s decision to approve use of the antiretroviral drug Truvada as an option for HIV prevention.

Gilead Sciences, maker of Truvada, based its application on results of two placebo-controlled trials-iPrEx in men who have sex with men and Partners PrEP in HIV-discordant heterosexual African couples.

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“The FDA got it right this time,” says Phill Wilson, President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. “PrEP is very helpful in interrupting the acquisition of HIV by gay men who have sex with men. And for the most vulnerable population to HIV infection on the planet-Black gay and bisexual men-this approval is not a moment too soon. The issue now is to make sure gay and bisexual men, and especially young black gay and bisexual men know what PrEP is, what it is not, how to use it, and if appropriate, how to access it.”

At the forefront of AIDS advocacy mobilization in Black communities, the Black AIDS Institute has supported the approval of this biomedical prevention option. But Wilson, who serves on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), stresses the need for access to the drug through better medical care for those who are impacted the most – in this case, black men who have sex with men. In addition to medical access, Wilson said that black men who have sex with men must remain vigilant in using condoms and communicating about HIV status with their partners-PrEP is most effective when used as part of a combination of prevention techniques.

Among the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy are reducing the number of people infected by HIV and increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes for people with HIV. There are about 50,000 new HIV infections each year in the United States, disproportionately among Black men and women. Officials from the FDA warned that high-risk individuals using Truvada should continue to practice safe sex, in particular by using condoms.

Can I Get HIV From Visiting My Doctor Or Dentist?

woman having dental exam
People often wonder if going to the doctor or dentist poses any HIV risks, particularly when needles or other medical tools are used as part of their treatment.

In July of 2012, a dentist in Colorado was discovered to have put thousands at risk for HIV and hepatitis infections. Dr. Stephen Stein, a Colorado dentist, was accused of reusing dirty needles and syringes, and his medical practice was closed by health officials.

Despite recent occurrences such as this, while HIV transmission is possible in health care settings, it is extremely rare. Medical experts emphasize that the careful practice of infection control procedures, including universal precautions, protects patients as well as health care providers from possible HIV infection in medical and dental offices.

In facts, further studies of more than 22,000 patients of 63 health care providers who were HIV-infected have found no further evidence of transmission from provider to patient in health care settings.

Simply put, don’t avoid going to your doctor or your dentist for fear of getting HIV. And if you have concerns, share them with your health care providers at your next visit.