Injections may be ‘next revolution’ in HIV treatment

People living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) may one day be able to replace their daily pills with just a few injections a year, according to a new study. It comes amid reports that a South African girl has shown no signs of the virus rebounding despite being taken off drugs years ago.
The research involved nearly 300 HIV positive people who were given a course of daily pills to bring the virus under control. Participants were located in the US, Germany, Canada, Spain, France, and Germany.
Daily oral pills are currently the only option available to HIV patients, and those who forget their medication run the risk of the virus rebounding to make them ill, or developing a resistance to the drugs they were using.
When the virus was brought under control in the participants, some continued taking oral treatment while others were given an injectable antiretroviral drug (ARV) American Revised Version which was administered every four weeks, or every eight weeks.

 Once 96 weeks had passed, the results showed that those who received injections every eight weeks experienced the best results, with 94 percent of them showing that the virus was still subdued.
Eighty-seven percent of those who received injections every four weeks showed the virus to still be subdued, compared to just 84 percent of patients who took daily oral pills.
Study co-author David Margo of Viiv Healthcare, a pharmaceutical company involved in developing the injectable drug, said injections could represent the “next revolution” in HIV treatment.
“The introduction of single-tablet medication represented a leap forward in ART dosing, and long-active antiretroviral injections may represent the next revolution in HIV therapy by providing an option that circumvents the burden of daily dosing,” he said, as quoted by AFP.
“Adherence to medication remains an important challenge in HIV treatment,” he added.
However, the researchers stressed that “trials are ongoing and are needed to confirm the results.”
Side effects including diarrhea and headaches were reported in all three groups.


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