Five Fast Facts About Truvada and its Misconceptions
PrEP is meant to stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. Truvada was officially the first drug for use in preventing HIV-negative people from getting HIV to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012.
Truvada is prescribed to adults and adolescents who are at high risk for contracting HIV through sex or injection drug use.
There are plenty of Truvada misconceptions and questions surrounding the drug. In continuation, we have compiled a list of facts you may not know about the antiretroviral drug.
Not recommended for “all gay men” regardless of misleading headlines
Gay and bisexual men have been disproportionately affected by AIDS since its discovery. Gay men account for 66 percent of new HIV infections despite only making up two percent of the U.S. population. In fact, 55 percent of all AIDS deaths have been gay men.
With that being said, the Centers for Disease Control recommend PrEP to individuals who do not have HIV but who are at “very high risk of getting HIV.” To clarify, this does not simply mean “all gay men.”
You may be at a very high risk of contracting HIV if you:
- Regularly have unprotected sex with partners of unknown HIV status
- Inject drugs and share needles
- Have an HIV-positive partner
It is not safe to replace condoms with Truvada
The approval to prescribe Truvada is a controversial topic. Public health officials worry that once on the drug, some people may engage in more risky behaviors due to one of the most popular Truvada misconceptions-they are completely protected from contracting HIV. However, this statement is completely false.
Truvada is not 100 percent effective against HIV and does not protect against other STIs that people are exposed to during intercourse. Above all, this makes it critical to understand that Truvada is by no means a condom replacement. Preventative interventions including condoms remain as relevant as ever. In addition, it is critical to be aware that having an STD can increase a person’s chance of getting exposed to the virus.
Truvada’s negative side effects and serious health risks
Since the epidemic’s beginning researcher’s have been searching for a solution. Although Truvada reduces the risk of contracting HIV, it is important to understand that the drug poses some negative side effects and serious complications.
For example, some of Truvada’s negative side effects include:
- Abdominal pain
- Liver problems
Aside from the negative side effects that may result from taking Truvada, more serious complications may arise.
One of these complications is Lactic Acidosis. This condition is caused by the build-up of lactic acid in the blood. This is a severe but rare condition that should be treated by a doctor right away.
Early signs of lactic acidosis include:
- Stomach pain
- Weight loss
Signs of life-threatening lactic acidosis include
- Unusual muscle pain
- Rapid breathing
- Cold or blue hands and feet
The use of Truvada has also been found to cause a decrease in bone mineral density consequently leading to osteoporosis, thinning of the bones and bone loss.
Osteoporosis is a serious condition because it affects the entire system causing a weakening in the bones. The brittle bones make patients more susceptible to frequent fractures, primarily in the wrists, spine, and hips.
Problems with the kidneys have been found to be a heightened risk for patients taking Truvada. These risks include:
- Kidney disease occurs when renal function drops below 25% capacity, causing health problems including heart attack and stroke.
- Kidney failure occurs when the renal function falls below 10-15% and dialysis is required for survival.
- End-stage renal disease means total kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant for survival.
If you take Truvada and are experiencing any of the symptoms above, it is important you seek medical attention immediately. These conditions need to be treated by a medical professional because they have the potential to be fatal.
Inconsistent dosing will reduce Truvada’s effectiveness
Many people do not take their medications as their doctors prescribe. Studies have shown that PrEP is most effective when taken daily. According to a three-year clinical trial of PrEP in HIV-negative men who are sexually active with men, not taking Truvada daily will reduce the drug’s effectiveness.
It is also important to note that it can take 20-30 days for the drug to be considered effective for patients who are starting PrEP treatment.
Truvada can cause drug-resistant HIV infection
Although rare, Prep failure due to transmitted drug resistance is a possibility. How does this happen? Mutations in HIV can make the virus less susceptible to Truvada causing PrEP to fail. Besides, the chances of acquiring the HIV virus increases if a person on PrEP is exposed to another person’s HIV virus that is resistant to the medications in PrEP.
To sum up, although it is not recommended and very dangerous, if you are on PrEP and are not protecting yourself and your partner with condoms, it is important you get tested regularly for STDs and HIV.
The Carlson Law Firm is here to help
We understand how difficult it can be to find out a medication has caused you harm. Pharmaceutical companies whose negligence has caused harm to consumers need to be held accountable. If you or a loved one has suffered from renal disease or bone disease after taking Truvada, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact The Carlson Law Firm to speak to a qualified Dangerous Drug Attorney who can evaluate your case and discuss if filing a Truvada Lawsuit is your best course of action. We care, we can help.
- Written by Adriana Torres