UC Davis doctors are comparing an FDA approved drug that's proven to curb HIV infection rates with a newer drug that has the same purpose, but is supposed to be better for your body.
HIV is a virus generally transmitted through sexual contact. You can't get rid of it, but you can prevent it with the drug Truvada.
"Should one be exposed to HIV, having this medication in the body and in the tissues will prevent the HIV from taking hold," said Dr. David Asmuth, principal investigator on the Discover Study.
Now a new study at UC Davis Medical Center for PrEP, an HIV prevention option that involves taking a daily pill, compares FDA approved Truvada to an investigatory drug known as Discovy.
Dr. Asmuth said the ingredients in both are similar, but the long term effects of Discovy aren't as harsh.
"Has fewer toxicities, it's easier on the bones, it's easier on the kidneys," Asmuth said.
Gay men and transgender women at high risk for HIV are the current focus of the Discover Study.
The study lasts three to five years. Participants are given the medication for free and are compensated for lab visits.
"Our goal is to end the AIDS epidemic," Asmuth said.
Javier Curiel isn't part of the trial, but takes PrEP drug Truvada. His partner is HIV positive and he said the medicine gives him peace of mind.
"Most people who take the medication are just wanting to take control of their own sex life," Curiel said.
Curiel understands the side effects of the current medication.
"I see my doctor to get checked up and get my kidneys tested about every three to six months," he said.
He said the possibility of a new and better drug is something he hopes for.
"Having more options out there, I think that's a great idea," Curiel said.
The executive director of the LGBT Community Center in Sacramento said he is encouraging people to participate in the study.
For more information on how to participate in the Discover Study visit ClinicalTrials.gov and search NCT number 02842086, call (916) 914-6230 or reach out to the LGBT center.