Israel's Health Ministry approved for marketing a new anti-AIDS drug which can prevent healthy people from contracting HIV/ AIDS.
Israel is one of the first countries to approve the drug, which has been cleared by the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control.
HIV is an sexually transmitted autoimmune disease which is nearly always transferred by sexual contact with an infected person. Drug addicts and promiscuous people - including the LGBT community - are at risk of contracting HIV, while the risk to the rest of the population (excluding rape victims and babies born to infected mothers) remain nearly unaffected.
The new drug, Truvada, claims to reduce the risk of contracting HIV from sexual contact by over 90% and reduce the risk from contracting HIV from drug use by over 70%.
The drug will be prescribed mostly to homosexual men and to women whose husbands are HIV-positive.
The drug is taken once a day and is intended for pre-exposure prophylaxis and contains the antiviral drugs emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. It works by interfering with the virus' ability to reproduce itself. Its efficacy is greatly reduced when it is not taken on a daily basis.
Those taking the drug need to be under constant medical supervision. Possible side effects include kidney failure, lactic acidosis, liver problems, worsening of bone problems ore Hepatitis B infections, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, depression, sleep issues, and rash.
Pharmaceutical companies Teva and Gilead, which manufacture the drug, will request at the end of the year the drug's inclusion in the governmental medical basket for 2018.
Including a drug in the governmental medical basket subsidizes the drug for the public, with purchasers paying only 15% of the drug's cost. This would place 85% of the burden on the Israeli government.
Many medications for ADHD, cancer, diabetes, and other terminal conditions are not included in the government's basket, despite repeated pleas by the patients and their families to include them. The reason usually given is a lack of budget for inclusion.
Including the "anti-AIDS" drug in the basket would cost the Israeli government billions of shekels each year - both for the drug itself and to treat potential side effects - for an illness which is largely preventable and usually comes as a result of an individual's choices - which he takes with full knowledge of the risks involved.