Injectable HIV drug better at blocking the virus than daily pills, study says

An injectable drug given once every two months was more effective at preventing HIV than the pill most commonly used by people at risk of infection, according to research released July 7 cited by The Washington Post

The injectable drug — called cabotegravir and made by ViiV Healthcare — was tested on more than 4,500 cisgender men who have sex with men and transgender women who have sex with men. The trial took place in 43 countries. 

It found that cabotegravir was more effective at preventing HIV infection than Gilead's Truvada, the pill most commonly used to prevent HIV, the Post reported. The research was released at an international AIDS conference. 

Researchers said Truvada is highly effective, but cabotegravir was more effective, likely because it removes the burden of adhering to a daily pill. 

People with inconsistent medical care often have trouble adhering to a daily pill regimen. Some of the people at highest risk of HIV infection, including people who are homeless and intravenous drug users, often have inconsistent medical care, according to the Post

"Giving individuals an option of an injection every eight weeks instead of taking a daily pill to prevent HIV provides choices and flexibility," Monica Gandhi, San Francisco co-chair of the AIDS conference, told the Post

Adherence to a daily pill regimen often starts strong but wanes over time, Kimberly Smith, head of research and development at ViiV Healthcare told the Post. Using an injection once every two months may allow more people to remain on the medication. 

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