When it comes to HIV prevention, doctors have said that condoms were best. But now the Centers for Disease Control has come out with some controversial new guidelines, recommending that some people take a pill for prevention.
“I do mine in the morning, every day, when I drink my coffee when I'm getting ready for work."
Kyle Murphy's morning ritual isn't about brushing his teeth or making breakfast. He's talking about taking a blue pill called Truvada, the newest method for preventing HIV.
“Everyone strives to be perfect but nobody is. We all have slip-ups and mishaps,” said Murphy.
In fact research shows a lot of people have so-called slip-ups. One study found that 87 percent of gay men weren't using condoms.
"That's such a large percentage of that population. They would really benefit from another potential method,” said Dr. Raymond Martins.
Dr. Martins says it’s those scary statistics that prompted the CDC to recommend people at high-risk for HIV to start using Truvada daily. A method called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PREP.
Patients, men or women simply take one pill each day to prevent infection.
"For people who took it up to 95 percent of the time, it was shown to be effective,” said Dr. Martins.
Critics worry it could give a false sense of security since Truvada doesn't prevent other sexually transmitted diseases. But Dr. Martins hasn't yet seen an increase STDDs and says many of the people on the pill are not using condoms anyway. Murphy agrees.
"We already know that folks aren't using condoms as often as they should be or as they need to. So I think PREP is just another option for folks to take care of themselves,” said Murphy.
In general, Truvada has few side effects, although some people can experience decreased kidney function. Truvada is expensive. A 30-day supply costs between $1,200 and $2,000. But most insurance seem to be covering it.