Scientists from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine have conducted a study to show that long-lasting injections containing an HIV drug provide people with protection against HIV transmissions.
These injections could help patients maintain their adherence to regimens of the treatments, which is one of the significant challenges that health professionals face as they try to manage the illness.
Most new HIV infections around the world are transmitted through vaginal transmissions. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is available in vaginal rings and vaginal gels as an attempt to stop HIV transmissions. Unfortunately, these have not proved to be effective because of adherence issues.
To minimize adherence problems and stop vaginal HIV transmissions, the scientists developed a new kind of long-acting injection formulation that includes raltegravir, an HIV drug.
After just two weeks of these injections, animal subjects showed that they had the same number of treatments in their systems as the humans who administer PrEP twice every day. In addition, just one injection strongly suppressed the HIV viral load in plasma as well as cervicovaginal lavages.
"Raltegravir is a well-tolerated drug with a strong track record of use for the treatment of HIV," Dr. Martina Kovarova, the study's lead author and an assistant professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases, said. "Changing its form from an oral pill to a subcutaneous injection produced a long-acting release of the drug that can be used for pre-exposure prophylaxis."