In DepthBiomedicine

Monthly shots may replace daily anti-HIV pills

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Science  24 Aug 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6404, pp. 740
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6404.740

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Summary

People infected with HIV must take antiretroviral pills every day, for life, which can fully suppress the virus, preventing immune system damage and lowering the likelihood that they will infect others. But about 30% of HIV-infected people on treatment at some point have difficulty taking their daily meds, which can also breed drug-resistant strains of HIV. Now, a large study for the first time has shown that injecting two anti-HIV drugs once a month into the buttocks worked just as well as taking the daily pills over 48 weeks. They also are being tested in uninfected people as what's known as pre-exposure prophylaxis. These long-acting antiretrovirals must still prove their worth in a second large treatment study before the companies that make the drugs seek licensure. And several important questions remain about their safety and effectiveness. But if they become part of the arsenal to combat HIV, they could transform both treatment and prevention.