By Xiu Ying, Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The government of the state of São Paulo is seeking volunteers to test a new drug preventing HIV infection, the cause of AIDS, using long-term injections as an alternative to the daily oral cocktail.
To date, the only approved method of preventing the virus from spreading is the scheduled use of a combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine tablets. This pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has been available at SUS since 2018 and has proven effective in controlling the epidemic in different cities around the world.
However, Cabotegravir injections could be the evolution of this PrEP due to its discretion and convenience for long term use. The anti-HIV drug is studied both for prevention and for treatment of those already living with the virus.
For treatment, monthly injection tests showed the drug as an effective and safe method, according to the Secretary of Health.
As for prevention, with longer application intervals, drug testing on HIV-negative volunteers is underway in six other countries: the United States, Argentina, Peru, South Africa, Vietnam, and Thailand.
In Brazil, testing takes place in: Rio de Janeiro (Fiocruz), Porto Alegre (Hospital Conceição), and São Paulo (Hospital das Clínicas); it began Monday, June 3rd in the Reference and Training Center on STD/AIDS, of the Health Secretariat.
To verify how the organism reacts to the drug, HIV-negative gay and bisexual men, transgender women and transvestites, over 18 years of age, without silicone implants on the buttocks, may participate in testing and research.
Half the participants will receive daily oral pills and placebo injections every two months. The other half will receive Cabotegravir injections every two months and placebo pills every day.
Neither the team nor the participants will know who is in which group until the double-blind study is over.
The Health Secretariat argues that “participation in research is a form of activism — a way to contribute to the future sexual health of the community”.
To participate in the study, those interested must contact the Research House of the CRT DST/AIDS:
Telephone: +55 (11) 5087-9903
WhatsApp: +55 (11) 94532-3864