Public health officials to distribute Truvada in fight against HIV

Gilead Sciences's HIV prevention pill, Truvada, will be used in a public health capacity three years after the FDA granted the drug a new indication.

Los Angeles County officials on Tuesday voted in favor of developing a plan to distribute the controversial drug to residents at high risk of contracting HIV, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Since its launch the drug has been met with sharp criticism from Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, one of the largest HIV medical providers. Weinstein argues that the drug's use could eliminate other forms of protection, like condoms, and that patients may not be adherent enough for the drug to be effective.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommended that Americans at risk of HIV take the daily pill in 2014, saying it could signal a shift in AIDS prevention. The pill has shown to be 92% effective in reducing the chance of a new infection, according to the agency.

The New York Times wrote about the drug's poor initial uptake in 2013, saying the slow uptake stemmed from stigmas associated and perpetuated by those on social networks and even among healthcare providers—including a derogatory label used to describe men who take Truvada and engage in risky sexual behavior.