HIV first ever injectable preventive medication has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) .
The newly approved drug, Apretude, is given to patients who need them every two months via injection. Before the approval, Truvada and Descovy, both of which are an oral medication that need to be taken once per day were only two forms of treatment approved as prevention medication for HIV.
Research and clinical trials have found Apretude importantly more effective than Truvada at lowering risk of Hiv transmission among cisgender men and transgender women who have sex with men (69 %), and especially among cisgender women (90 %).
The FDA are optimistic that approving Apretude is the next step in effectively ending the HIV epidemic. Apretude is given as two initiation injections administered a month apart, and then given every two months after that. Patients can choose between receiving just Apretude, or they can take the oral medication Vocabria to see how their bodies react to the drug. It also costs $3,700 per dose.
Pre-exposure Prophylaxis [PrEP] : This is a medicine people at risk for HIV take to prevent getting HIV from sex or injection drug use. PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body.
Daily oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medications must be taken consistently in order to be effective similar to daily oral birth control, or medication for curing hepatitis C. A long-lasting injectable could be groundbreaking for some people who have difficulty adhering to a daily medication schedule for any number of reasons, including chaotic drug use or being unhoused.
PrEP medications block an enzyme that allows the HIV virus to replicate inside the human body. Truvada was approved in 2012, and Descovy approved specifically for people without vaginal tissue in 2019. When Used daily as recommended, they can give all round 99% protection against HIV transmission from sex, and somewhere around 80% protection from transmission via injection drug use.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the use of PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by 99%, and reduces the risk of infection from injection drug use by at least 74%. However, strict adherence to daily medication is incredibly important in reaping the protective benefits.