New Injectable Medication for HIV Prevention
What is HIV? HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus and essentially targets our immune system. If left untreated, HIV can escalate to AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Viral diseases require antiviral medications to help eradicate the virus and cure us. There are currently no cures for HIV; once contracted, it is a lifelong disease that requires treatment to be managed.
There are, however, currently some forms of preventable measures, such as PrEP, that have been implemented to help avoid contracting HIV in the first place. However, medication like this one requires adherence (having to take one pill daily), which may be difficult for some and can be easily impacted by other social or mental factors.
A new injectable medication called Apretude, was recently released this month and has been FDA approved for prevention of HIV. Apretude is the brand name for cabotegravir, an extended-release injection that can be used in at-risk adults and some adolescents. The medication is delivered twice at first, one month apart, then every two months following that. Because it is an injection, it alleviates the strict adherence required of PrEP, and can therefore attain greater effectiveness among at-risk populations. Two randomized studies showed cisgendered men and transgender women who took Apretude had a 69% less risk of getting the HIV infection compared to those who took PrEP. This medication is only used in those who currently test negative for HIV. Taking the medication while undiagnosed can lead to drug resistance.
This medication lends a huge step forward in the eradication of the HIV epidemic. Creating a new form of prevention, which seems to be more effective than current methods, is a win in terms of public health. More research is needed to continue to find a cure for HIV itself, but preventing the contraction entirely may be enough to help society move forward.
*This post is not medical advice and does not intent to replace medical advice given to you by your personal doctor. Never stop or change treatment or medications without talking to your personal doctor first. This blog and all posts on Cajon Medical social media and websites is for informational purposes only.*