When someone is diagnosed to have Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), that person would consider the diagnosis as a death sentence. But the government continues to find ways to end the AIDS epidemic.
This time, the FDA approved a new drug that can prevent HIV. However, it has to be taken daily. When properly used, you are protected against the virus, especially if you live with someone diagnosed with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
Descovy to Prevent Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
It is the second drug that the FDA approved to be used to prevent such disease. This drug is to be used as PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis), which is a daily HIV prevention regimen.
Currently, the drug has an expensive price tag. However, its generic version is expected to be available later this year. Gilead, the manufacturer of Descovy, is hoping that people will be using it more because it is less toxic to the kidneys and bones, unlike the other drug, Truvada.
Is Descovy an HIV Vaccine?
It is not an HIV vaccine. However, it can effectively prevent retrovirus from attacking the user. This FDA approval is part of the country’s efforts to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. It aims to lower the number of new diagnoses by up to 75 percent and by 90 percent in the next decade.
In 2016, Descovy was approved to be taken as HIV treatment. However, it must be taken along with other anti-retroviral drugs. It has a fixed dose of 200 mg emtricitabine and 25 mg of tenofovir alafenamide.
Who Can Take It
This AIDS-preventing drug is recommended to men having sex with other men (MSM). It is also prescribed to transgender women. But the FDA panel was split when deciding whether the drug is to be approved for cisgender women. The reason for this is that the medicine has not been tested and evaluated in this population.
In that case, this drug is only approved for transgender women and MSM. It is awaiting approval to be used by cisgender women and transgender men.
The FDA stated:
“The safety and efficacy of Descovy for PrEP were evaluated in a randomized, double-blind multinational trial in 5,387 HIV-negative men and transgender women who have sex with men and were at risk of HIV-1 infection. The trial compared once daily Descovy to Truvada (emtricitabine, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, 200 mg/300 mg), a daily fixed dose combination of two drugs approved in 2012 to prevent the sexual acquisition of HIV; participants were followed for 48 to 96 weeks. The primary endpoint was the rate of HIV-1 infection in each group. The trial showed that Descovy was similar to Truvada in reducing the risk of acquiring HIV-1 infection. The most common adverse reaction in individuals without HIV who were taking Descovy for PrEP was diarrhea.”
Both Truvada and Descovy are effective in preventing HIV or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
How is HIV Spread or How is HIV Transmitted
HIV is spread through coitus with someone who is infected with HIV. If you have vaginal sex, anal sex or oral sex with someone positive with AIDS, then you are likely to get this disease.
In that case, it is always best to practice safer sex with your partner. It is especially true if your partner has not yet proven to be HIV negative.
To stop HIV spread, you need to use a condom or latex barrier when having coitus with your partner. Or you may use pre-exposure prophylaxis. It is a daily medication that you must take to prevent HIV or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
You should also not engage in rough sex or activities that might cause bleeding.
However, if you have unprotected sex with an infected person, it does not always necessarily mean that you will be infected. But your chances are high. It is especially true if your infected partner is not taking HIV medicines.
How is HIV Not Spread
The virus cannot be transmitted through masturbation, hugging, dry kissing, cybersex, phone sex, and daily living with a partner with HIV. The use of sex toys does not spread HIV, as long as you do not share it with someone.
Can HIV Spread through Blood
Bood-borne infection with HIV can arise through blood transfusion, accidental needle stick, sharing injection equipment, splashing blood in your eyes and getting tattoos through unsterilized needles.
It is best to use sterilized injection equipment each time you inject drugs. The equipment must also be new. To further lower your chances of contracting HIV or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, you should take PrEP.
How HIV Spread through Pregnancy
An HIV-pregnant woman can pass the disease to her child during birth. That’s why pregnant women who are positive with this disease must take anti-HIV medicines during pregnancy and childbirth. It may not 100% stop the spread but it can lower the risk of the baby becoming infected with the virus.
The transmission can also occur via breast milk. The highest risk is in the early months after giving birth. Thus, babies should be fed with formula milk, rather than breast-feed.
Can You Get HIV from Saliva
HIV or AIDS cannot be transmitted through saliva. However, if you kissed an HIV-positive person and both of you have sores or bleeding gums, then the virus can travel to the bloodstream and infect the HIV-negative partner.
Reduce Your Risk by Taking PrEP
Anyone can be contracted with HIV. However, you can protect yourself by getting tested. Then, make sure that you opt for less risky sexual behaviors. As mentioned earlier, the virus can be spread through anal or vaginal sex without a condom. Each time you have sex, make sure to use a condom.
Most of all, limit your sexual partners. You are likely to have a partner with HIV positive if you have more partners.
If you are currently living with an HIV-positive person, make sure to take PrEp. Talk to your doctor about it. Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) can be prevented if you practice safe sex.
In the Philippines, there is a new facility that aims to prevent the spread of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. (Click the link to read more about the facility and how it is helping in preventing this disease.)
Is there a cure yet to this disease? (Click the link to read our post about the reasons cases of HIV or AIDS in the Asia Pacific are increasing. You will also find out if there is a cure for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.)