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Long-acting injectable cabotegravir must be equitably accessible for HIV prevention

Timothy Mastro, MD, DTM&H, Chief Science Officer at FHI 360

August 01, 2022

Special Update from FHI 360

FHI 360 joins millions around the world in welcoming the World Health Organization’s recommendation of long-acting injectable cabotegravir (CAB-LA) as a safe, effective and convenient HIV prevention method. The guidelines for its use were announced in advance of this year’s International AIDS Conference.

Administered by injection every two months, rather than by a pill taken daily, CAB-LA holds groundbreaking potential in the fight against HIV. The latest research from the HIV Prevention Trials Network, whose leadership and operations center is at FHI 360, found sustained reductions in HIV incidence among cisgender women, making injectable CAB-LA a highly efficacious HIV prevention method.

The WHO estimates that about 3 million individuals worldwide acquired HIV in the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic — meaning that the global community must act urgently and equitably to resume progress in controlling the spread of HIV. Now, with CAB-LA for prevention, there is another powerful method to do so.

FHI 360 works alongside communities in more than 50 countries preventing, testing for and treating HIV infection. In 2023, FHI 360 will begin delivering injectable CAB-LA for prevention in five countries in Africa through partnerships with local organizations. With the vast majority of people living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in Africa, FHI 360 has seen first-hand the urgent need for a sufficient and affordable supply of HIV prevention methods to be made available equitably around the world.

To adequately address the burden of HIV, it is critical that all communities can access their choice of prevention methods, particularly those as efficacious as injectable cabotegravir. If the global community working to address HIV marshals its resources and prioritizes equitable distribution of prevention methods, we can make strides toward achieving HIV epidemic control.