Long-Acting Injectable Drugs for HIV-1 Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis: Considerations for Africa

Trop Med Infect Dis. 2022 Jul 29;7(8):154. doi: 10.3390/tropicalmed7080154.


Sub-Saharan Africa carries the highest burden of HIV-1 and AIDS. About 39% of all new infections in the world in 2020 were in this region. Oral PrEP was found to be very effective in reducing the risk of HIV-1 transmission. However, its effectiveness is highly dependent on users adhering to the drugs. The availability of long-acting injectable PrEP that eliminates the need for a daily pill may increase PrEP uptake and adherence in people who struggle to adhere to oral PrEP. The USA’s FDA approved long-acting cabotegravir (CAB-LA) for PrEP of HIV-1 in December 2021. In this review, we discussed the implementation challenges to the successful roll-out of CAB-LA in Africa and measures to address these implementation challenges. Some health system-level challenges include the cost of the drug, its refrigeration requirement, and the shortage of healthcare providers trained to administer parenteral medicines. In contrast, client challenges include lack of knowledge, accessibility of the drug, side effects, stigma, and lack of family and community support. These challenges can be addressed by several measures emanating from lessons learned from the successful implementation of ART, oral PrEP, and immunization in the continent. Some steps include advocating for waiving of CAB-LA patent licence, conducting demonstration projects in Africa, promoting the use of renewable energy sources such as solar energy, healthcare provider training, task shifting, community engagement, client education, and implementing adherence promotion strategies.

PMID:36006246 | PMC:PMC9414191 | DOI:10.3390/tropicalmed7080154


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