HIV injections to replace daily pills pass medical trial

Antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV infection and prevent HIV trasmission

HIV groups have welcomed the news that a monthly injection to treat people living with HIV (PLHIV) has just passed medical trials.

The injections could be be an alternative to the daily pills PLHIV currently take to treat HIV.

Results of the studies were presented on Thursday. at the 2019 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI).

‘Constantly improving treatments for HIV have revolutionised the lives of people living with this condition,’ said Kat Smithson, director of Policy and Campaigns, NAT (National AIDS Trust).

‘The potential for HIV to be successfully treated with an injection repeated every month, rather than pills taken every day, could be life-enhancing for many people. It will help with adherence to medication and allow people with HIV to get on with their lives.’

The results from the ATLAS and FLAIR studies showed the monthly injections are effective in maintaining viral suppression. The results mean they injections are now one step closer to market.

Revolutionary

Matthew Hodson, executive director of NAM / aidsmap, said some patients in the study reported soreness at the injection site but the news was overwhelmingly positive for PLHIV.

‘Increasing choice about the ways we can take HIV treatment can only be a good thing,’ Hodson told Gay Star News.

‘The participants in this study were much more likely to say they preferred the monthly injections to daily pills.

‘Taking medication daily can be burdensome, a reminder of your infection and loaded with any negative feelings you may have about that.

‘Monthly injections will be better if you’re worried about co-workers, partners or housemates finding your medication and questioning you about it. It also may be better for people who struggle to take their treatment every day as directed.’

The monthly injection are still long way off, warned Ian Green, chief executive of Terrence Higgins Trust.

‘We have come a long way in our understanding of HIV and the treatment options available to people living with HIV,’ Green said.

‘Being able to provide a single injection every month would undoubtedly revolutionize the lives of people currently taking treatment. We already know that people living with HIV and on effective treatment can’t pass the virus on to their sexual partners and can live normal and healthy lives. This would be another step in showing that HIV is a manageable condition that does not define anyone.

‘This treatment is still some way off but it has opened the door to providing people with further options to live well with HIV.’

Author: Shannon Power

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