Updated: May 24
For those living with HIV, plenty of treatments are now available in order to live a full and abundant life. Studies and research continue to be done in order to further develop the treatment and eventually find a cure. The most popular treatment, Truvada that’s meant to be taken as a daily pill may now be a thing of the past. As of recent news, a new study shows a long-acting injectable that may be a secondary option to the traditional pill according to the pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline.
This new drug called Cabotegravir is still undergoing heavy investigation although GlaxoSmithKline has stated that studies are revealing that it’s more effective than the Truvada tablet.
Each shot is said to last 2 months and protects anyone from contracting the HIV virus. While research has been placed on standby due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s currently in Phase 3 of its development for both HIV treatment and prevention.
With the advancements of new treatments, one thing scientists and researchers strive to do is create a drug with less side effects. As of now some of the side effects include fatigue, fever, headache and nausea with headaches and fevers being the most common, according to participants in the study.
We at Gaye Magazine had the opportunity to speak with an anonymous source who is an assistant research scientist for both NYU and Montefiore Hospital and actively works in promoting PrEP and safe sex practices to clients.
In addition, said source also regularly takes Truvada. When asked, “How do you feel about this new study and can you see yourself switching over to the injectable if it becomes CDC approved in the near future?”, said source responded, “With the appropriate research done and the approval of the CDC, this can be ground breaking for the queer community. Personally I know taking the pill can be a hassle and I know some clients of mine have disclosed that they don’t take the pill everyday, which puts them at a very high risk of contracting HIV. Injectable prep can save a lot of lives.”
Research is still being done in order to examine if injected Cabotegravir will work in other populations, and a similar study is analyzing the results in heterosexual women, though scientists are expecting to have more answers in November. Until then the fight against HIV continues as it continues to plague the planet.
HIV has been around for decades; some scientists even dating it’s origin back to 1908. It’s been responsible for taking the life of nearly 37.9 million people globally while 75 million people have been infected. However, this virus that was once considered a death sentence now has a life expectancy nearly the same as someone living without the virus at all. With the help of treatments like PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) and PREP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), one can reduce the risk of HIV completely spreading throughout your body.
In fact, those who take their medication as prescribed by their doctor can bring the level of the virus to such low levels that blood tests cannot detect it nor is there any risk of passing HIV onto someone else; this being known as HIV-positive undetectable.
While research of this new drug continues, we’ll continue to keep our #Gayes updated on any new information. Until then keep those eyes peeled!