Unitaid to introduce new long-lasting injection to prevent HIV in Brazil and South Africa, as high-income countries begin deployment


People at risk of HIV in Brazil and South Africa will be among the first to benefit from a highly effective, long-acting injectable HIV preventive treatment through two large-scale operational projects funded by global health agency Unitaid.  

Long-acting cabotegravir is a new HIV prevention method that provides eight weeks of continuous protection against HIV infection through a single intramuscular injection.  

This provides an alternative to oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which can reduce the risk of HIV infection by 99%, but only when taken as prescribed: either once a day, or before and after sex for cisgender men.  

Long-acting cabotegravir addresses challenges users face with regular pills that reduce the impact of oral PrEP in real-world settings. It also mitigates fears that pills will be misinterpreted for HIV treatment and cause the user to suffer stigma, discrimination, or intimate partner violence as a result. 

Unitaid will partner with Fiocruz in Brazil, Wits RHI in South Africa, and local health authorities in both countries to integrate long-acting cabotegravir into national sexual health programmes, generating some of the first real-world evidence that will support wide-scale global implementation. 

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