By Jane Nambi
Ugandan doctors have come out to dispute reports that Truvada is an HIV – vaccine after rumors circulated around that an HIV cure drug and vaccine has been found.
Prof Pontiano Kaleebu, director of the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe, said Truvada is not an HIV vaccine but an anti-retro viral drug. “No HIV vaccine has yet been discovered. There are, however, ongoing studies and efforts to discover a vaccine,” he said.
Dr Patrick Ndase, the Ugandan HIV prevention research expert at the University of Washington emphasized that there was no vaccine for HIV yet. “It most certainly is not a vaccine. The concept studied is the use of an anti-retroviral drug for HIV prevention similar to the approach used for prevention of mother-to-child transmission,” he said. “There is no vaccine and clearly no clear timeframe can even be put to hopes of ever getting a vaccine against HIV, but the hope is alive,” he added.
Research has proved that truvada reduces the risk of infection by up to 42% in gay and bisexual men and 75% in heterosexual couples according to the AIDS Research Alliance.
Scientists say that Truvada does not offer 100% protection against HIV. For the drug to give protection at some level, an HIV negative person would have to take it daily.