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PrEP implant could be a ‘game changer’ for HIV prevention

PrEP implant could be a ‘game changer’ for HIV prevention

A new PrEP implant that lasts for a year will be a ‘game changer’ for HIV prevention.

Known as Islatravir, the implant is inserted under skin of the arm and works to prevent HIV transmission for more than a year.

Pharmaceutical company MSD announced its study findings at the 10th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2019) in Mexico City.

It completed its first implant trials on humans, giving 12 healthy adults an implant for 12 weeks. A control group of four participants were given placebo implants.

Game changer

Currently, PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is an oral medication taken once-a-day. Whereas an implant which only needs replacing could be a ‘game changer’.
Islatravir could be a game changer for HIV prevention. PrEP is already extraordinarily effective at preventing HIV,’ said NAM director Matthew Hodson.

I’m enthusiastic about Islatravir’s potential to make it easier for people to go on PrEP, and maintain levels of drug in the body necessary to provide protection for a year, without additional dosing.’

Hodson also said: ‘taking PrEP as an annual implant would mean that adherence would largely cease to be a concern. It also offers a more discreet option for people who are fearful of being stigmatised for their PrEP use, including younger gay and bi men who may be living with family or others who don’t know about their sexuality.’

IAS President and IAS 2019 International Scientific chair, Anton Pozniak, also welcomed the development.

‘An implant offers another choice for those who might in the future also have pills and injectables available. It could also offer a promising solution to those who face challenges adhering to a daily PrEP regimen,’ Pozniak said.

‘Taken together, the HIV prevention studies presented at IAS 2019 show that we are creating new tools to address the realities of people’s lives.’