A single shot of a long-lasting antiviral agent every 2 months is 89% more effective at preventing HIV infections in women compared with a daily pill, The New York Times reports. In a randomized, double-blind trial, scientists compared the injected drug, called cabotegravir, with an approved pill marketed as Truvada in 3223 women across seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa. During the trial, which evaluated a vaccinelike strategy known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), 34 participants taking Truvada became infected with HIV, whereas just four receiving injections contracted the virus, the researchers report today in a press release. Two of the participants from the latter group had stopped receiving injections every 2 months. After an interim review of data on cabotegravir’s efficacy and safety, advisers recommended the study investigators end the trial early and release their results. Cabotegravir was previously shown to prevent HIV infections only in cisgender men and transgender women who have sex with men; participants in the new trial were cisgender women. People often struggle to adhere to a daily pill regimen, which undermines its effectiveness, and one shot of cabotegravir every 8 weeks could provide patients with more freedom and flexibility, public health experts say.
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