The drug Truvada, more commonly known as PrEP, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for usage by gay and bisexual teenagers.
The FDA recommends that the drug be used as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, for male adolescents who have sex with other men to prevent HIV infection, along with other safe-sex practices.
This change comes out of necessity, as in 2016, 21 percent of new cases of HIV occurred in youth ages 13 to 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The FDA issued its decision following a study funded by Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The study, known as ATN113, provided 67 sexually active men ages 15 to 17 with daily doses of the drug.
Clinical psychologist Sybil Hosek, lead investigator for the study, said it proved that Truvada was a great resource to prevent HIV infection.
“Study ATN113 has demonstrated that Truvada for PrEP is a well-tolerated prevention option for adolescents who are vulnerable to HIV,” Hosek said in a statement. “In addition to traditional risk-reduction strategies, healthcare providers and community advocates are now equipped with another tool to help address the incidence of HIV in younger at-risk populations.”
Matthew Rose, Policy and advocacy manager at the National Minority AIDS Council said in a statement: “We must make use of all available options when considering HIV prevention strategies, and we welcome the development that Truvada for PrEP is now available for younger people who are at risk of HIV.”