The 14th European AIDS Conference was held in Brussels in October of this year.
Professor Francois Raffi of Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Nantes presented Antiretroviral therapy — new strategies or new drugs? in the closing lecture of the conference. He spoke about a range of new medications and strategies that are currently being trialled to treat HIV.
HIV medications are being improved all the time. The current drugs are all very effective in reducing the viral load in the blood, though some drugs still come with unwanted side effects. The new research that is taking place focuses on reducing side effects and making it easier to take your medications by combining different drugs into one pill. Research also investigates new drugs because it is also important to have a range of drugs available in case HIV develops a resistance to some medications.
Professor Raffi identified that key research currently taking place in HIV treatments:
A different form of tenofovir is being researched which has less impact on the kidneys and bone density.
- Some new, more potent antiretroviral medications are currently being developed.
- Some drugs that are particularly effective against drug resistant forms of the HIV virus are currently being tested.
- There is a move towards more single pill combinations, meaning taking medications should become easier.
Treatments have not changed significantly since the 1990’s, when the best standard of care: the ‘three drug regime’ was introduced. This is because nothing that has been researched so far is more effective than this approach.
Professor Raffi stressed that new drug development needs to focus on the ability to reduce immune system activation and inflammation, as well as getting to hard to reach areas, such as the brain and lymphatic tissue.
He also identified that the most important direction for the future is ensuring all those who need HIV treatment have access to it.
More information on HIV treatments can be found on the ACON website: http://www.acon.org.au/
The original article is available on the AIDS http://www.aidsmap.com/page/2782641/
Another breakthrough has also been reported. Typical modern treatments for HIV infection include taking a daily pill. But what would you think about a monthly injection? Early stage clinical trials by two drug companies have shown such an injection to be safe and effective at keeping drug levels high in the body long after the injection. One recent survey showed that 84% of people would rather have a monthly injection.
What do you think?