Injectable PrEP more effective than pills at preventing HIV among women

© Frontline AIDS

An anti-HIV drug injected every two months has proven to be more effective than daily pill treatments at preventing HIV in women and girls, researchers have reported.

Matteo Cassolato, Technical Lead for HIV Prevention at Frontline AIDS, said:

“We enthusiastically welcome this news. Injectable cabotegravir is potentially a big step forward for HIV prevention among women and girls, who need more prevention options. It has now been shown that, among women, cabotegravir injections are 89% more effective than taking pills daily. This means we’re not only looking at a new method of prevention, but potentially a better method for women and other groups who may struggle with adhering to daily pill treatment long-term.

“These results are exciting, but it’s important to acknowledge they are a starting point. There are now important real world implementation issues to address, from assessing how acceptable the new drug and its delivery method are, to understanding how HIV prevention programmes would need to be adjusted so that this method can be delivered safely and effectively to women and girls. It will still take some time for injectable PrEP to become available, but it is hopeful.

“We should also be mindful that, although injectable PrEP will likely be an excellent addition to the HIV prevention toolbox, women and girls need comprehensive multi-sectoral approaches that go beyond the health sector. Gender inequality and other harmful gender norms severely limit women’s and girls’ ability to use many prevention options. We need combination prevention approaches that are gender transformative and that truly empower women.”

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HIVHIV preventionPre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)