Scientists Introduce Injections, Implants To Prevent HIV

 Scientists Introduce Injections, Implants To Prevent HIV


Ahead of the World AIDS Day in 2016, scientists have started large-scale trials on the use of injections to protect vulnerable groups such as gay men and women in Africa for at least two months. Nigeria has the third highest burden of HIV and AIDS in the world. A general population survey in 2013 puts the country at an HIV prevalence of 3.4 per cent, lower than 3.6 per cent reported in 2007.
About 3.5 million people are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and the estimated number of new infections and HIV/AIDS related deaths was 390,000 and 217,000 respectively in 2013.
According to a report on the ‘mailonline’, the plan is to produce matchstick- sized implants containing slow-release drugs – similar to existing under-the-skin contraceptive devices – that could offer year-long protection. The companies with drugs include GlaxoSmithKline, Gilead Sciences and Merck.
The initiatives build on the success of Gilead’s once-daily pill Truvada, which has proved remarkably effective at stopping HIV infection during sex. Clinical studies show such pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, can cut the risk of catching the virus by more than 90 per cent, as long as people take their pills regularly.
“The problem is many do not,” the report stated. Some women in trials in Africa, for example, said they were reluctant to have HIV tablets in the house for fear of what partners or neighbours would think.
An injection given in a clinic, experts argue, would add privacy and ensure steady drug levels. An implant in the arm might even combine contraception and HIV protection at a go.
Reacting to the new development, a Professor of Infectious Diseases at Hospital Saint-Louis in Paris, Jean-Michel Molina, said, “The more options there are the better and I think for some individuals injections will be great.


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