amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

Long-Acting Injectable Prevents HIV in Women

Findings could help reduce burden of HIV among women, who accounted for 1.7 million new infections in 2019

 Prevent HIV

A new study finds a shot administered every two months is more effective at preventing HIV in women than the daily oral pill currently on the market. The strong result led the researchers to end the clinical trial early and announce their results on November 9.

Researchers report that the long-acting antiretroviral cabotegravir (CAB-LA) used as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) against HIV infection was safe and 89% more effective at preventing HIV acquisition than the current standard of care, daily oral TDF/FTC, known by the brand name Truvada.

“We’re very encouraged that this result could provide women with a highly effective new HIV prevention option.”The clinical trial HPTN 084, which was conducted by the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) with funding from the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Mental Health, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and ViiV Healthcare, enrolled more than 3,200 participants across seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

After an interim analysis of the randomized, controlled, double-blind study by an independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) found that injections of CAB-LA every two months provided “superior efficacy” against HIV, the DSMB recommended unblinding participants and announcing the results.

“We’re very encouraged that this result could provide women with a highly effective new HIV prevention option,” said Greg Millett, amfAR Vice President and Director of Public Policy. “This could be a game changer in regions of the world such as sub-Saharan Africa, where women account for nearly 60 percent of all new HIV infections.”

A companion study, HPTN 083, previously reported the drug is as or more effective than once-daily PrEP for cisgender men and transgender women who have sex with men.

Read amfAR’s series of reports on the critical issues that must be navigated as long-acting antiretrovirals begin to advance toward the market. 

Read our reporting on the companion study, HPTN 083, here.