Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) welcomed news that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the medication Truvada, designed to prevent HIV transmission. It is the first drug approved to reduce the risk of infection in individuals at high risk of HIV infection, and for those who are HIV-negative but have a partner who is HIV-positive. Truvada has already been approved for the treatment of HIV.
Rep. Engel said, "HIV and AIDS has devastated millions of individuals and families worldwide. Appropriate provider training and patient education on the new use of this drug will be important, as will the continued use of other prevention measures. I am encouraged those particularly at risk for this disease will have access to another way to prevent HIV transmission. This is great news for those at risk of being infected by HIV, and a huge leap forward towards one day finding a cure."
Rep. Engel is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee and a member of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus. He has previously introduced the Early Treatment for HIV Act, legislation to modernize Medicaid by allowing early treatment of low-income individuals with HIV before they develop AIDS.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 50,000 new HIV infections take place every year. In 2008, in the 40 states with confidential, name-based HIV infection reporting, itwas estimated that more than 682,000 Americans were living with an HIV diagnosis. Worldwide, it is estimated that 2.7 million individuals are newly infected with HIV each year, and an estimated 33 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.