Health and Wellness

First human trials of long-acting injectable drug to prevent HIV underway

First human trials of long-acting injectable drug to prevent HIV underway

A study that’s been called the first large-scale clinical trial of an injectable drug for HIV prevention — one that will remain effective for a far longer period than the daily PrEP regimen — is now underway.

It involves 4,500 men who have sex with men, as well as transgender women who have sex with men. They hail from 45 spots around the world: eight countries in the Americas, Asia and Africa. Every person taking part in the study is 18 years or older, and at high risk for HIV infection.

The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. is sponsoring these historic human trials, which began Dec. 21. Researchers will investigate if this injectable form of the anti-HIV drug cabotegravir can safely protect men and transgender women from HIV infection, at least as well as Truvada daily oral tablets.

Truvada is the brand name and only licensed regimen of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, also known as PrEP, and contains the two anti-HIV drugs, emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate.

The big difference: the dosage for the injectable drug is only once every 8 weeks.

If it works, a shot every two months might be a better solution for some people than popping a Truvada pill every single day.

But it’s not going to be something we know tomorrow. The results of the study won’t be known for five years, according to News Medical Life Sciences.

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