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HIV prevention shot: New HIV prevention drugs shows huge promise

A long-acting shot now acts as a sort of prevention for HIV.
A long-acting shot now acts as a sort of prevention for HIV.
Armin Kubelbeck

Hopes have been raised as an HIV prevention shot appears to be possible and on the way. Scientific American reported on March 4, 2014, that studies prove an antiviral drug - an HIV-similar virus - injected into the muscle actually prevents and protects monkeys from infection for up to weeks afterward.

So far, the HIV prevention shot has only been tested in monkeys, but good signs have come from these tests.

"This is the most exciting innovation in the field of HIV prevention that I've heard recently," said Dr. Robert Grant, an AIDS expert at the Gladstone Institutes, a foundation affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco.

"Both groups are showing 100 percent protection" with the drug, Grant said of the two groups of researchers. "If it works and proves to be safe, it would allow for HIV to be prevented with periodic injections, perhaps every three months."

Researchers still say that condoms are the best way to prevent infection from the AIDS virus and any other possible STDs. Condoms should still be used until a vaccine is developed. The good thing is that the HIV prevention vaccine has given hopes to many since a lot of people still don't use condoms all the time.

Six monkeys were given shots of the HIV-prevention drug ever four weeks by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Six other monkeys were given placebo dummy shots. All of the monkeys were exposed to the virus twice a week for a full 11 weeks.

The monkeys who got the fake treatment were readily infected "but the animals that received the long-acting drug remained protected," said study leader Gerardo Garcia-Lerma of the CDC.

A second study was done to see how long a single HIV-prevention shot would loast and it protected 12 monkeys for an average of about 10 weeks.

That single shot dosage is equal to what people would get from a shot every three months.

"This is really promising," said Dr. Judith Currier, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles. The research "supports moving this forward" into human testing, she said.

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