UNITAID announced a groundbreaking development by the ViiV healthcare on the discovery of the first injection to offer long-lasting protection against HIV as an alternative to the daily medication. The agency is set to roll out the injection in South Africa and Brazil, following the approval by the US health authority.
This was disclosed in a press release by UNITAID on Friday, 18 March 2022. Where it stated, “Like other HIV treatments, the antiretroviral medication works by stopping the virus from replicating in the body, effectively reducing the viral load.” The injection is said to consist of an active ingredient called “cabitegravir”, which offers two months of protection against the HIV.
In the press release, it stated that that the UN agency, UNITAID, will fund the implementation of the HIV prevention – an injection of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) that has shown to be more effective than the daily oral PrEP, thereby reducing the risk of HIV injection, with just about six injections per year.
The UNITAID explained how this development would be a game changer helping the UN scale up its 2025 prevention targets to 95 percent of the people at risk of infection. A significant change to be realized compared to the failed target of three million people to be prevented from the infection in 2020.
Hence, UNITAID mentioned that, “In partnership with Fiocuz in Brazil, Wits RHI in South Africa and the local health authorities in both countries, it will integrate long-lasting PrEP into the national sexual health programmes and generate crucial real-world evidence that will underpin efforts for rapid global scale-up.”
Furthermore, the UN agency distinctively analysed its target group in both countries and how the new development is projected to reduce the HIV infection rate. It stated that, “In Brazil, the programmes will aim to reach the two groups with the highest rates of HIV prevalence: an estimated 30% of transgender people and 18% of men who have sex with men in the country.”
Whereas, in South Africa, “the programme will include a 2nd long-activity HIV prevention product targeted at adolescent girls and young women: the dapivirine vaginal ring, which lasts 28 days and can be inserted at home.” This will be the first HIV prevention method a woman has complete control over.