A new HIV drug is causing some excitement within the world of health.
Recent research hints at an exciting breakthrough for people who currently take a pill each day to protect against HIV. The research found that in the future, a single shot given every one to three months can provide an alternative to people who currently take a pill a day to reduce their risk of contracting HIV.
Health experts call the new drug, which will offer protection against HIV for up to three months at a time, the “most exciting innovation” in recent HIV history.
The drug has only been tested in monkeys so far, but results have been very promising. According to two studies presented at a recent AIDS conference, the monkeys were completely protected against the infection.
A Gladstone Institutes AIDS expert, Dr. Robert Grant, says, “This is the most exciting innovation in the field of HIV prevention that I’ve heard recently.”
Grant notes that the two groups of researchers have been demonstrating 100 percent protection when using the drug. He explains, “If it works and proves to be safe, it would allow for HIV to be prevented with periodic injections, perhaps every three months.”
Condoms remain the best, most effective way to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted illnesses until a vaccine has been developed. However, public health officials realize that not everyone uses condoms, or uses them every time.
Gilead Science’s Truvada, a drug that is used to treat those who are infected with HIV, is being used as a preventative measure for people who do not have the infection. A large study among gay men years ago noted that the risk could be cut by up to 90 percent as long as people take the pill when they are supposed to.
The research involved testing a long-acting experimental drug by GlaxoSmithKline. Researchers used monkeys that were infected with a monkey-human variation of HIV.
Half, or six, of the monkeys received a shot of the drug every four weeks, while the other half got dummy shots. The monkeys that received the fake protection were infected, but those that received the drug remained protected.