News Detail

Jane Simoni’s study on long-acting HIV therapies, is the subject of this news article.

Effectiveness and frequency of dosing are the most important factors affecting acceptability of injectable HIV therapy, says US study

Michael Carter

Effectiveness and dosing frequency are the two key factors affecting the acceptability of long-acting injectable antiretroviral therapy, according to a small study conducted in the United States and published in AIDS and Behavior. Participants found injectable treatment moderately acceptable. The study included a broad spectrum of people living with HIV, including individuals with adherence problems, a likely target population for long-acting injectable therapy should it become available.

“Overall, our results suggest that as long as the targeted long-acting combination antiretroviral therapy works as well or better than daily pills and administration frequency is not too burdensome, people living with HIV may be willing to tolerate potential side effects, less preferred injection sites, and even moderate adverse site reactions,” comment the investigators. “It may even be that people living with HIV would even find regimens with comparable effectiveness to oral pills to be preferable under scenarios in which burden can be minimized.”

Larger studies are needed to build on these preliminary findings, suggest the authors. Such research could underpin information and education campaigns about injectable therapy.

Modern HIV therapy is very effective but relies on high and consistent levels of adherence. Some people find this challenging, leading to treatment failure, the development of drug-resistance and changes in treatment.

Long-acting injectable antiretroviral therapy is likely to become a treatment option in the near future and may be especially attractive to individuals who find adherence problematic. A long-acting combination consisting of cabotegravir and rilpivirine administered via intramuscular injection is currently in late-stage development. However, it has to be administered by a healthcare professional, in a clinic.

Long-acting therapies that could be delivered at home using subcutaneous injections are at an earlier stage of development. To see if such therapy would be acceptable to people with HIV, a team of investigators led by Dr Jane Simoni of the University of Washington, Seattle, designed a study involving 56 HIV-positive individuals. They were asked a series of questions about their interest in this type of treatment. These were structured in such a way that Simoni and colleagues were able to determine not only the overall acceptability of injectables, but also the factors that influenced individuals’ willingness to consider this therapy.

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