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New HIV treatment of jabs taken two months apart hailed as 'great step forward'

"Offering people living with HIV in England and Wales greater choice in how they manage their condition"

2021-11-18

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Pexels

Eligible people living with HIV in England and Wales will soon be able to access a bi-monthly injection as treatment for the condition.

Most commonly-available HIV treatments involve taking daily antiretroviral drugs in pill form - between one and four a day.

The availability of the injection, developed by ViiV Healthcare, the global specialist HIV company majority-owned by GlaxoSmithKline plc (“GSK”), with Pfizer Inc. and Shionogi Limited as shareholders, was announced this morning.

The Vocabria (cabotegravir long-acting injection) has been developed in combination with Rekambys (rilpivirine long-acting injection), developed by Janssen Sciences Ireland UC (Janssen), one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.

"Having to take tablets every day can be physically, emotionally and socially burdensome"

“We still have a long way to go in educating around HIV, but today’s announcement demonstrates how far we’ve come since the 1980s epidemic; it is a huge step forward in offering people living with HIV in England and Wales greater choice in how they manage their condition,” said Garry Brough, Positively UK.

“Having to take tablets every day can be physically, emotionally and socially burdensome for some people. This decision reflects the rightful need for people living with HIV to have the freedom to manage their HIV in a way that works best for them, helping them to live their life to the full.”

In a recent Opinion Matters online survey, people living with HIV, 60% said they live in fear that their HIV status will be shared without their consent, with 45% saying they have been forced to share their HIV status because someone spotted the medicine they were taking.

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