Despite initial positive reaction to the pill Truvada, which looked to be a way to hinder HIV infection, doctors now say they are hesitant to prescribe the expensive drug to otherwise healthy people because it might cause severe nausea and kidney damage.
Bloomberg News reports that while the breakthrough was significant for those looking to prevent HIV transmission or slow down its manifestation, the drug is costly (about $12,000 annually or $35 per pill), and doctors say more research must be done on the pill, which is known as PrEP.
“This may be the most important scientific breakthrough we’ve had so far to date that we don’t know what to do with,” Kevin Robert Frost, chief executive officer of the New York-based Foundation for AIDS Research, said in the article. “At the end of the day this study may prove valuable for the proof of concept that it represents and not for any specific application.”
A November study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that HIV-negative men who took Truvada regularly were 92% less likely to become infected with the virus. The study showed that overall, the pill cut the rate of infection by 44% in 2,500 gay men who were preventatively taking the pill for up to three years.