by Rob Roth
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - A breakthrough in the fight against HIV infections. The FDA has approved a pill that can reduce a person's risk of getting the virus.
Dr.Shawn Hassler said he had been prescribing Truvada to patients prior to this week.
"I know for a fact that I am preventing HIV infections in high-risk individuals by putting them on Truvada," Dr. Hassler said.
For the first time in the 30-year history of fighting AIDS, the FDA approved Truvada for use by healthy, HIV negative people who engage in risky sexual behavior or who have a partner with HIV.
Even with the drug's approval, health officials urge people to use condoms.
More than 50,000 people in the U.S. are infected with HIV each year.
Doctors hope Truvada will help stop the spread of the disease.
"It is still going to take us a number of years until we get to get that vaccine that protects at high rates. In the meantime, we need lots of other tragedies and this is one of them," said Susan Buchbinder with the San Francisco Health Department. "But, it's the first pill that if taken on a daily basis can prevent you from becoming HIV infected."
Health officials are hoping insurance will cover Truvada, which costs about a thousand dollars a month, now that it has FDA approval.