Injectable PrEP Works in Cisgender Women—New data from HPTN 084

November 9, 2020

Over the weekend, we at AVAC and allies around the world witnessed history and gained hope as the results of the American presidential election (finally) got announced. To see a President who has already pledged to work to build public health and justice and trust science—and to roll back the Global Gag Rule—in 2021, along with a Black American, Indian-American woman in the White House! We have much to celebrate and much to do.

News also came in that the HPTN 084 trial of injectable long-acting cabotegravir for HIV prevention in cisgender women found a high level of effectiveness at a scheduled interim data review.

Cisgender women receiving the injection had very low rates of new HIV diagnoses compared to cisgender women taking daily oral PrEP. Importantly, women in the daily oral PrEP arm also had low rates of HIV, with initial analysis of blood-drug levels showing that many participants in the oral PrEP arm were taking the daily dose as prescribed.

Bottom line: Both injectable CAB-LA and daily oral PrEP are safe, effective strategies for reducing HIV risk in cisgender women. These data concur with data on both strategies in gay men, other men who have sex with men and transgender women.

The American election results and the trial results have more in common than timing alone. Effective public health programs require much more than effective products. The urgent work now is for policy makers, funders, program implementers and communities to design and build HIV prevention programs and health systems that can deliver the growing array of biomedical PrEP options, including oral PrEP, the Dapivirine Vaginal Ring and, hopefully, CAB-LA, and make them feasible choices for all people at risk of infection.

AVAC looks forward to working with all stakeholders to advance and articulate priorities and recommendations to forge one comprehensive agenda that reduces HIV risk and expands human rights for all. Stay tuned.