A newly approved pill to prevent HIV infection is creating hope for inroads in the global fight against AIDS, though questions about its cost, access and appropriate uses remain.

In July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug known as Truvada — the brand name for the medication emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate — for daily use as a pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, “in combination with safer sex practices to reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV infection in adults at high risk,” according to an FDA statement. While the drug is not suitable for everyone, likely candidates include members of so-called “discordant” couples in which one person is HIV-positive.

“I’m optimistic that for some people it could be very beneficial,” APHA member Ken Mayer, MD, medical director at Fenway Health in Boston and visiting professor at Harvard Medical School, told The Nation’s Health. “I don’t think of PrEP as a panacea. It’s part of a package of approaches.”

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