The first drug designed to help to prevent HIV transmission in people at high risk of infection has been approved for use in the European Union on Friday.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the use of the drug Truvada for pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, in combination with safer sex practices.

``The drug will help people who do not have HIV but who are at high risk of infection with HIV to lower their chances of becoming infected when they are exposed to the virus.

``The oral drug should be used in combination with condoms as part of an HIV prevention strategy.

``Truvada was previously approved for use in the EU as part of drug cocktails designed to treat people infected with HIV,’’ the WHO said.

The WHO estimates that some 36.7 million people worldwide were living with HIV at the end of 2015.