Antiretroviral Injection Could Offer 100% Protection From HIV For Up To 3 Months

Researchers have found that monthly injections of antiretroviral drugs protected monkeys for weeks against HIV infection, a finding that could lead to a potential breakthrough in preventing HIV in humans.

Two separate studies conducted by different laboratory groups, each found 100 percent protection in monkeys that were given monthly injections of antiretroviral drugs. There was also evidence that a single shot every three months might offer a similar rate of protection.

According to The New York Times:

If the findings can be replicated in humans, they have the potential to overcome a major problem in AIDS prevention: that many people fail to take their antiretroviral pills regularly.

It has been known since 2010 that healthy people taking a small daily dose of antiretroviral drugs — a procedure known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PreP (pronounced prep) — can achieve better than 90 percent protection against infection.

But in several clinical trials since then in gay men, in intravenous drug users and in couples where one partner is infected, it has been shown that the only participants fully protected were those who took their pills every day without fail. Many did not.

“A preliminary human trial is to start late this year,” said Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, an AIDS expert at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. A larger trial that could lead to a treatment in humans may still be several years away.