A Dutch specialist is calling for the introduction in the Netherlands of a pill that can dramatically lower the risk of infection with the HIV virus.
According to Michiel van Agtmael, a consultant in infectious diseases at Amsterdam’s VU hospital, the drug Truvada, is “a breakthrough in the fight against HIV”. The medicine is already available in the United States and can cut the risk of infection by up to 73 percent.
Van Agtmael believes the anti-HIV pill should be made available to high-risk groups such as prostitutes and HIV-negative gay men whose partners are infected with the virus. However, he warns that users of the drug need to be carefully monitored for side effects. Longterm use of Truvada can damage the kidneys and bone structure.
Speaking to the Dutch daily free newspaper Metro, Van Agtmael also warned of the danger that, “people could have a false sense of security. Just because the danger of infection is halved doesn’t mean you can make love without a condom.”
Another disadvantage is the price: Truvada costs around 20 euros per pill.