Washington, DC -- Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) welcomed news that a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel has recommended the medication Truvada be approved for the prevention of HIV transmission.  The advisory panel made the recommendation of Truvada use for HIV-negative individuals whose partners are HIV-positive, men who have sex with men, and “other individuals at risk for acquiring HIV through sexual activity.”  Truvada has already been approved for the treatment of HIV, but formal FDA approval will allow it to be marketed not only for the treatment of HIV, but for HIV transmission prevention as well.  

Rep. Engel said, “I am pleased that the FDA advisory board has recommended the approval of another tool to help prevent the transmission of HIV.  HIV and AIDS has devastated millions of individuals and families world-wide.  Appropriate provider training and patient education on the new use of this drug will be important, as will the continued use of condoms and other prevention measures. I am encouraged that those particularly at risk for this disease could soon have access to another way to prevent HIV transmission.  Given the advisory board’s recommendations, I look forward to FDA’s formal decision regarding Truvada for prevention.”

Rep. Engel is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee and proud member of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus.  He has previously introduced the Early Treatment for HIV Act, legislation to modernize the Medicaid program 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, it was 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.