What you need to know about injectable ARVs
Have you heard of the new long-acting injectable HIV medication?
Long-acting injectable HIV medication is basically normal Antiretroviral therapy that may be used once a month or for longer periods other than the usual daily use.
In January 2021, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved cabotegravir/rilpivirine (Cabenuva), the first long-acting injectable medication used for treating HIV infection. These injectable ARVs have already been licensed for use by the USA and European governments and human trials ended with very successful results a few months ago.
Several long-acting modalities are currently under investigation for both HIV treatment and prophylaxis, including oral, injectable, and implant.
Long-acting formulations are being developed to overcome barriers primarily, adherence presented by daily oral therapy. People Living With HIV(PLHIV) will be able to walk into the hospital and receive their shot which will last them one or more months.
What are the findings from the human trials?
What you should know is that during the human trials, the one-month injectable drug was able to suppress HIV multiplication just like your usual ARVs and can last a month or even two months
How safe is it?
In the two human trials conducted, there were no serious safety concerns. The most common reactions were pain at the area of injection and minor irritations. These are common side effects of many injectable drugs.
Is it good for me?
This injection is very good for new PLHIV who are enrolling in treatment for the first time, and those who want to switch so from daily pills. PLHIV will basically have many options at their disposal unlike before.
Is it available in Kenya?
The long-acting injectable HIV drug is still not available or accessible in Kenya yet.
What does it mean if it is introduced at my facility?
Ifor when introduced, people living with HIV will be given the freedom to choose either injection or continue using their pills if they don’t have problems with adherence.
What are your thoughts on the long-acting injectable HIV drug? Do you think they are better than daily HIV pills?