A new experimental HIV drug has only been tested in monkeys so far, but it has completely protected the primates from infection in the two studies that have been conducted.
Findings reported at an AIDS conference on Tuesday, March 4, suggest that a shot every one to three months may someday give an alternative to the daily pills some people take in order to minimize the risk of spreading the HIV virus. “This is the most exciting innovation in the field of HIV prevention that I’ve heard recently,” said Dr. Robert Grant, an AIDS expert at the Gladstone Institutes, a foundation affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco.
“Both groups are showing 100 percent protection” with the drug. “If it works and proves to be safe, it would allow for HIV to be prevented with periodic injections, perhaps every three months,” Grant said.
Scientists still suggest protection using condoms until a vaccine is developed. Currently Gilead Science’s Truvada — a drug used to treat HIV patients is also used to protect people from infection who do not already have the virus. Scientists have already studied the treatment in gay men and found that it could cut the risk of HIV transmission up to 90 percent depending on how routinely the pill was taken.