Pill to prevent HIV/AIDS infection growing in popularity
Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | 09.07.16
Photo by AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
Dr. Lisa Sterman holds up a bottle of Truvada at her office in San Francisco, Thursday, May 10, 2012.
(Harrisburg) -- There's a pill that can go a long way to preventing an HIV infection, and now, more people are starting to take the drug, known as PrEP.
It's brand-name is Truvada, but it's best known as PrEP.
By taking the pill once a day, the chances of getting infected with HIV drop by more than 90 percent.
At one Lancaster County clinic, prescriptions for the drug have more than doubled in the past year.
But Dr. Jeffrey Kirchner says too few people know about the drug that can help keep them healthy.
He runs the Lancaster General Health practice that cares for people living with HIV/AIDS.
"I think we would do better by getting the word out to the public and saying take this information to your medical provider and you initiate the conversation. See what they know about it, how they feel about it," says Kirchner.
He says he spoke to a group of 50 physicians in Reading last year and when he asked who knew about the drug PrEP, just two hands went up.
"It's kind of an out of sight out of mind thing, particularly physicians in other medical sub-specialities that aren't paying much attention to what's going on in the clinical world outside their specific specialty," says Kirchner.
Some have questioned whether the drug could encourage risky behavior, but Kirchner says studies have reassured him that the benefits outweigh the costs.
The drug can cost about $1,600 a month, but many private and government insurance plans cover it.