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New HIV Prevention Trials Hold Promise for New Prevention Options for Women

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AVAC
Thursday, November 30, 2017

Just ahead of another World AIDS Day, two new efficacy trials officially launched in Africa today with the potential of additional HIV prevention methods in the future.

The two trials – one studying a new vaccine strategy from Janssen/Johnson & Johnson that could protect against multiple strains of HIV and the other with an injectable antiretroviral PrEP strategy every two months from ViiV/GSK – join five other efficacy trials that are hoped to expand the options available to meet the varied needs women and men have for HIV prevention over the course of their lives.

“It is unprecedented to have so much diverse activity in the field, with nearly 25,000 trial participants to be enrolled across all of these trials around the world. As we commemorate World AIDS Day, it’s important to pause and be thankful for the many thousands of women and men around the world who have stepped up to volunteer for clinical trials that have given us the means to respond to this epidemic, in whose footsteps the 6,000 African women who will take part in these two new trials now follow,” said Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC, a global HIV prevention organization.

“Equally unprecedented is the level of pharmaceutical engagement within these trial partnerships. While both of these new trials are jointly funded by the US National Institutes of Health and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the two product developers are active financial partners,” said Warren. “We hope that the examples of ViiV and Janssen will prompt additional and sustainable industrial partnerships in HIV prevention research.”

“These new trials come at one of the most dynamic times for HIV prevention. There are more trials of new concepts; more programs beginning to deliver daily oral PrEP; a vaginal ring going through regulatory review; record numbers of people on HIV treatment; new guidelines reflecting the scientific evidence behind undetectable = untransmittable; and real-world evidence from Uganda that scaling up treatment and voluntary medical male circumcision can reduce new HIV infection at a population level,” said Warren.

This dynamism also makes the field far more complex than ever before, as these multiple signs of progress co-exist and compete for resources. Later today, AVAC will be releasing its annual “state of the field” report—Mixed Messages and How to Untangle Them—which addresses these realities. The report will be available online at www.avac.org/report2017.

“Both new trials could pave the way for valuable new long-acting prevention options—in addition to, not instead of, the interventions we have today. As the AVAC Report describes, now is the time to structure research agendas and networks, oral PrEP programs and comprehensive approaches to HIV prevention in such a way that they lay the groundwork for strategies like those being tested in these trials,” Warren said.