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FDA advisory panel endorses pill to prevent HIV infection

An FDA panel voted to endorse Truvada, a pill that is supposed to prevent HIV infection.

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted Thursday to endorse a pill that is supposed to prevent HIV infection.

Truvada is a once-a-day pill meant to ward off the virus for higher-risk patients, which includes heterosexual partners with one partner being HIV positive and gay and bisexual men.

Gilead Sciences Inc., is based in Foster City, Calif. The company makes Truvada and has sold it since 2004 as a treatment for HIV/AIDS. This request was to expand the label to include people who don't yet have the virus.

The FDA does not have to follow advisory panel decisions, but it usually does.

Many in the AIDS community backed the proposal because they have searched for a prevention drug. Others fretted that people would not diligently take the pill as prescribed and others were worried that it would detract from the use of condoms, which has been proven to to stop the spread of the virus.

The Associated Press reported that panel member Dr. Tom Giordano of Baylor College of Medicine voted in favor of approval.

"The trouble is adherence, but I don't think it's our charge to judge whether people will take the medicine," Giordano said, according to AP. "I think our charge is to judge whether it works when it's taken and whether the risks outweigh the benefits."