Current US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics indicate 56,000 new HIV infections have occurred in the U St in 2006. The CDC’s estimates reach the number of 1.1 million HIV positive Americans with 25% of them probably not aware of their infections. Worldwide, around 33 million people have the infection and 25 million people are thought to have died from AIDS.

In June, we are about to find out if the pill taken to prevent HIV infection works or not, as the trial of tenofovir, said to be an HIV prevention pill, nears the end.

The tenofovir pill, PreP (pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention), is being studied as a result of the drug’s ability to boost temporarily the immune system enough to fend off HIV infection by about 80% when taken within just a few days following exposure. Study participants are taking the pill, or a placebo, on a daily basis, to determine how effective a prevention it can be.

Currently, the most effective means of preventing exposure to the HIV virus is the use of condoms or avoidance of other risky behaviors.
What worries the researchers is the likelihood of foregoing the use of condoms when taking the prevention pill expecting it to eliminate all risks of infection. Such behaviours by people to whom the pill proves ineffective may unknowingly spread the virus thus contributing to even further AIDS epidemic instead of keeping it in check.

According to some sources, people have already started using PreP and other antiretroviral drugs in lieu of condoms outside the study’s parameters and before the drug went into the trial phase.

This may lead to misuse of the drug and counterbalance any benefits.
PreP is not a simple pill you would pop before a night on the town, other safety measures must be maintained as well for maximum benefit. PreP is a daily medication that comes with side effects that have been linked to kidney and liver damage.

The cost of the pill may not be so attractive to the vast population. A daily supply could cost between $500 and $900 per month, with cost depending upon an individual patient’s access to insurance coverage and variables from one insurance carrier to another. It is likely the cost would drop if the drug becomes widely prescribed.