Monthly Shots Control HIV as Well as Daily Pills: Studies

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Monthly shots of HIV drugs were as effective as daily pills in controlling the AIDS-causing virus, two studies show.

They included a total of nearly 1,200 people worldwide. Some were taking pills to treat their HIV infection while others hadn't yet started treatment. In the studies, half the patients took pills and half received the shots, the Associated Press reported.

After nearly a year, only 1 to 2 percent of patients in both studies had traces of HIV in their blood, whether they took pills or received shots.

The shots are a combination of two HIV drugs — rilpivirine, sold as Edurant by Johnson & Johnson's Janssen unit, and ViiV Healthcare's experimental drug cabotegravir. ViiV Healthcare paid for the studies, the AP reported.

The drugmakers will seek approval for the shots in the United States and Europe. If approved, the shots would provide a new option that could help some people with HIV remain on treatment.

That's because instead of having to remember to take pills each day, patients could get shots from a doctor or nurse each month.

"Some people will be thrilled" at the convenience, Mitchell Warren, executive director of the AIDS advocacy group AVAC, told the AP.

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