Trials into ViiV Healthcare’s cabotegravir have suggested it could be even more effective than the standard of care (Truvada) in preventing HIV infection. However, some analysts think Truvada may still be the preferred option owing to cost and ease of administration. Abi Millar weighs up the pros and cons of each.
Once a certain death sentence, HIV infection has now become a manageable condition. This is due to the introduction of antiretroviral medications that can reduce viral load to the point of undetectability, meaning the person never develops AIDS and can’t pass on the virus.
Since 2012, there has been another weapon in our armoury too – namely pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a medication HIV-negative people can take to minimise the risk of contracting HIV. The World Health Organization recommends PrEP for anyone at substantial risk of HIV infection, including men and transgender women who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, and young women and girls in high prevalence parts of the world.
These tools, as part of a broader prevention plan, have gone a long way towards reducing the incidence of HIV and AIDS. Around 1.7 million people contracted HIV in 2019, down 23% since 2010, while AIDS-related deaths have dropped by 60% since their peak in 2004.
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