US Approves First Injectable Treatment to Prevent HIV
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first injectable treatment that prevents HIV which is also provided bimonthly.
Another such treatment, known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), has been available for several years now, but it consists of a pill that must be taken daily.
In the case of this new option, the scheme begins with two injections, separated by a period of one month, and then one injection every two months, as reported by The Independent newspaper, in its Spanish edition.
According to the manufacturer, pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, the new treatment provides superior protection over the oral treatment. In men who have sex with other men and in trans women, cabotegravir (name of the active substance) reduced the chance of acquiring HIV by 69%, compared to PrEP taken in pill form.
Another study found it to be even more effective in cisgender women, showing a 90% lower risk of acquiring HIV compared to using oral treatment. As we have reported in this space before, this trial was so resoundingly successful that it was completed ahead of time, since there was no question about the results.
A breakthrough in prevention
A persisting problem in medical treatments in general is adherence or compliance, that is, that the person takes their medications in the time and in the way they were prescribed. If we are talking about a treatment that will be taken for an indefinite period of time, simplifying the doses to every two months can favor this compliance.
In an interview with The Independent, the director of research at the Washington Institute of Health, Richard Elion, recalled that humanity already has the tools to end the HIV epidemic “through prevention and the application of effective antiretroviral treatment.” The new bimonthly PrEP, the investigating physician considers, offers the option of choosing the treatment that best suits each person’s needs.
As preventive drugs expand their availability, prevention and timely care of the virus remain very important. If you want to get a free HIV test or need free condoms, come to AHF Latin America and the Caribbean. Find our closest office in your country or write to us on WhatsApp.