CINCINNATI—In July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug Truvada to help reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV infection, in combination with safer sex practices. The drug was previously approved for the treatment of those already infected with HIV.
Now, UC Health physicians will hold a regular half-day clinic in West Chester, aimed at providing preventive HIV care and prescribing Truvada for those with at high risk of contracting HIV. UC Health is the only system in the surrounding area providing this service.
Judith Feinberg, MD, professor in the division of infectious diseases at the University of Cincinnati (UC), UC Health physician and an HIV/AIDS researcher who also chaired the FDA committee that recommended this approval, says the clinic will be held in the newly opened infectious diseases clinic at the UC Health Physicians Office North in West Chester the first Friday of every month, beginning Friday, Feb. 1.
"Patients interested in taking Truvada to prevent getting HIV might not be comfortable receiving preventive services in an established HIV clinic,” she says, adding that the clinic will solely be dedicated to prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. "West Chester serves as a neutral location and includes other conveniences for patients, such as better parking, a newer clinical space and an on-site pharmacy.”
Feinberg says patients who might consider using Truvada include people whose partners have HIV or individuals who have multiple sexual partners.
"The clinic is completely discreet, as in any other medical practice,” she says.
Truvada preventive treatment involves taking one pill once a day, Feinberg says. The drug is manufactured by Gilead Sciences, which has estimated its cost for one patient at $13,600 annually. Feinberg suggests that patients consult with their insurer about reimbursement; Gilead Sciences also has a medication assistance program to help patients obtain access to Truvada.
"I’m very pleased that we can offer this preventive treatment to individuals in the Greater Cincinnati area,” Feinberg says. "This is a huge step in the fight against the spread of HIV and shows how research has truly translated into real therapies to help people.”