Not sure if you've heard about it, but there is a vote scheduled tomorrow by the FDA to determine whether a pill called Truvada will be allowed for use by those at risk for HIV infection to help fight the spread of the disease. A few studies on Truvada have had fairly positive results (a 44% reduction in infection rates among gay and bisexual men and a 75% reduction in infection rates among heterosexual couples), and if the FDA approves the new use for the drug it will be the first HIV PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) treatment available for widespread use.
The theory behind PrEP is that if you're taking medicine that is effective against HIV, the virus will be disabled before it has a chance to infect you if you should come in contact with it. It's not much different than current PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) treatments that are given to individuals who may have come in contact with the virus, except for the fact that it's a preemptive action against infection instead of a response.
From what I've seen, responses to the possible approval of Truvada have been a bit mixed. Some advocates think that it's a major step forward in that it will help protect people in serodiscordant couples (couples that have one HIV+ and one HIV- partner) and various other situations where they could run a risk of becoming infected. Some HIV advocates think that the approval of Truvada as a PrEP treatment would be horrible, however, as they see it as encouragement for people to partake in risky behavior or unsafe sex.
Of course, the point that a lot of the reports on the vote seem to gloss over is that Truvada isn't necessarily the easiest thing in the world to take. It's one pill a day, but you need to take the pill every day at approximately the same time and even a few missed doses could cause problems if you've come in contact with HIV during that time. Side effects when getting used to HIV medications aren't necessarily pleasant, either... if you have a bad reaction to the drug, getting your groove on could very well be the furthest thing from your mind during the first several weeks that you're taking it.
So what do you think? Is the potential availability of Truvada as a PrEP treatment a good thing for AIDS prevention or is it the "typical American easy way out" as Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation described it? If you were in a serodiscordant relationship, would you take it (or encourage your partner to take it)? Are there other factors (such as cost) that would sway your decision one way or the other?