Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) has been a massive weapon in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but the daily pill regiment has been seen as hindrance for a drug that could lead to the first AIDS-free generation.
But 4500 men and transgender women who have sex with men from Asia, America and Africa have been selected to take part in a new clinical study for an injectable form of the drug which claims to prevent HIV/AIDS for as long as 8 weeks at a time.
“We urgently need more HIV prevention tools that fit easily into people’s lives,” Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), told Pink News. “Although daily oral Truvada clearly works for HIV prevention, taking a daily pill while feeling healthy can be difficult for some people.”
According to the CDC, daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%. Your risk of getting HIV from sex can be even lower if you combine PrEP with condoms and other prevention methods.
The new drug, injectable cabotegravir, has the potential to become an acceptable, discreet and convenient alternative for HIV prevention according to Fauci.
But studies take time, and scientists believe, even if the new drug works, it wouldn’t be available for another five years.