A pill that could help prevent the spread of AIDS—and, critics say, inadvertently sanction unprotected sex—was approved by a federal food and drug advisory panel.

The use of Truvada, a drug already approved to manage the virus that causes AIDS, was cleared for use as a preventive compound by the Food and Drug Administration’s antiviral products committee May 11 is aimed at the sexually highly active—especially men engaging in unprotected sex with men and heterosexuals with partners who are vulnerable to AIDS—who are considered at high risk for developing AIDS, according to the FDA.

Final approval by the FDA is expected June 15.

The compound, a combination of tenofovir (Viread) and emtricitabine (Emtriva), two drugs that are effective in fighting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, is already being used to keep HIV from replicating in the body’s cells, according to USNews.com. Patients who are using Truvada are required to be tested regularly for HIV.

But FDA approval would mean that regular HIV testing would not be required for those prescribed Truvada as a preventative drug, a prospect that raises red flags among AIDS health care advocates who worry that the pill could encourage risky sexual practices and undo decades of safe-sex advocacy.

“This irresponsible step by the FDA to move forward with approval of the use of Truvada as an HIV prevention pill without even requiring regular HIV testing will surely go down in the annals of FDA history as one of its most shameful moments,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

“I don’t see it as a panacea, but it’s an option, and that’s important,” Dr. Kenneth Mayer, an AIDS specialist and medical research director of The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health in Boston, told USNews.com. “Some people won’t use a condom, but will say, ‘if you give me another option, I’ll use that.'”

The pill, which would cost an estimated $11,000-$14,000 a year, would provide a fresh layer of protection for high-risk patients, Dr. Barry Zingman, medical director of the AIDS Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, told ABCNews.com.

“It’s not a panacea by any means, but there is still a tremendous fear of becoming HIV-positive, even when couples are using all the proper protection,” he said. “When used in carefully selected patients getting significant support and close follow-up, it can clearly make a difference in people’s lives.”

According to Time Magazine, Truvada has been in use since 2004 as a HIV control and was discovered to have prevention properties in 2010. The magazine said that researchers found, in a three-year study, that daily Truvada doses cut the risk of infection in healthy gay and bisexual men by 44 percent, when accompanied by condoms and counseling. Another study found that Truvada reduced infection by 75 percent in heterosexual couples in which one partner was infected with HIV and the other was not, the magazine said.

In spite of it being a possible major AIDS breakthrough, Truvada does not get high marks in preventing women from contracting HIV.

While the compound was judged effective in preventing men from acquiring the virus from either men or women, a study in 2011 was halted early after researchers found that women taking the drug were more likely to acquire the virus than those who were taking a placebo.

Researchers suspect that women were not taking Truvada consistently, Time.com reported.

“We know that if the person doesn’t take the medication every day they will not be protected,” Dr. Rodney Wright, director of HIV programs at Montefiore Medical Center in New York and chairman of the AIDS Health Foundation, told the magazine. “So the concern is that there may not be adequate adherence to provide protection in the general population.”

The panel also voted 13 to 1 on May 11 to clear the use Truvada with two other drugs as a treatment for HIV. The compound, Quad, would also have to taken daily.

The only member of the panel to vote against approval voiced reservations based on the results of clinical trials. Dr. Michelle Estrella of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said that the potential kidney problems and limited information on the drug’s safety for women did not warrant her approval, according to MedicalDaily.com.