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Ditch Your HIV Pills and Get a Monthly Shot Instead?

By David Artavia

Johnson and Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline may have come up with an even more convenient way of treating HIV — not with daily tablets but with new monthly injections that at least one study suggests might be even safer.

Though it seems like most patients would prefer pills over needles, a new survey published in Nanomedicine has shown that 84% of HIV-positive people would rather have monthly injections. The side effects of injection (versus the newer, popular daily tablets) may be less as well, according to a new trial, especially for HIV-negative people who take pre-exposure medicince called PrEP for the purpose of reducing their chances of getting the virus.

“It’s certainly something that people have great interest in,” Glaxo developer Bill Spreen told Bloomberg about the shots. “There’s going to be a sub-population of patients who select this.”

Daily tablets are a lifelong commitment and have been known to cause long-term damage to the liver, but in the recent trial of 40 HIV-negative volunteers who took the monthly injections, drug levels were sustained above a predetermined threshold that is considered necessary to control HIV for infected patients. These levels remained in tact as long as four months after the shot was injected, according to the results.

Though still in the works, with continuing studies, Glaxo may win U.S. regulatory approval by August and according to economists, could earn more than $1 billion in sales by 2018.

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