For Immediate Release; Approval of the 1st and only Long Acting Injectable PrEP.

For Immediate Release; Approval of the 1st and only Long Acting Injectable PrEP.

ICWEA Congratulates ViiV HealthCare upon the Approval of the 1st only long-acting injectable pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) option to reduce HIV acquisition risk – Yet another Discreet HIV prevention Option for Women and Girls and the respective diversities!

The International Community of Women living with HIV in Eastern Africa congratulate ViiV Healthcare upon the approval of the world’s first injectable medication to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted HIV.

ICWEA welcomes the news with profound excitement that the US Food and Drug Administration has approved “Apretude” the first and only long-acting injectable pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) option to reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV-1. The long-acting injectable has been was approved for use in adults and adolescents weighing at least 35 kg who are at risk of sexually acquiring HIV and who have a negative HIV-1 test prior to initiation

This has come in time this year after yet an approval of the Dapivirne Ring (DPV-VR) a female-initiated option to reduce the risk of HIV infection for women who are at substantial HIV risk during vaginal sex. It is a complementary prevention approach in addition to other safer sex practices.

Women remain at high risk in many settings, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Girls and young women aged 15 to 24 account for more than 63% of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa. The UNAids July 2021 report translates this into the sobering reality that, in 2020, 4,200 women in this age group became infected every week in the region. Adolescent girls and young women are especially at risk due to biological, social, economic and gender equity factors.

No single HIV prevention method will meet the needs of all people at risk, so a range of options is needed for individuals to protect themselves and to curb the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa

Despite considerable progress in HIV prevention research and implementation, including the availability of counseling on HIV risk reduction, promotion of consistent condom use, and more recently, oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce the risk of HIV infection, women and AGYW have not benefited as they should.

The safety and efficacy of Apretude to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV were evaluated in two randomized, double-blind trials that compared Apretude to Truvada, a once daily oral medication for HIV PrEP. Trial 1 included HIV-uninfected men and transgender women who have sex with men and have high-risk behaviour for HIV infection. Trial 2 included uninfected cisgender women at risk of acquiring HIV

Choice is key: along with daily oral PrEP, and male and female condoms, and the the ring, the Apretude could also provide that choice to fill a gap for a long-acting method that can be used discreetly when people at risk can’t or won’t use oral PrEP or condoms consistently.This approval adds an important tool in the effort to end HIV epidemic by providing the first option to prevent HIV that does not involve taking a daily pill.

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