In 2019, about half of the people newly infected with HIV worldwide were female adults. Despite this number, several women still face a long list of obstacles to taking medicine that could potentially be preventing HIV infection.
Recently, the medical community went agog with news of a treatment plan that will work for all women without restrictions. They found that long-lasting HIV drug injections administered once every eight weeks are a safe and more effective method of preventing HIV infection than taking two daily pills.
An infectious diseases physician, Bisola Ojikutu, with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, described the finding as incredibly exciting. Although she did not take part in the trial, the doctor said that it would be the best option for women once approved by the United States Food and Drugs Administration.
Ojikutu said women would have the discrete option of using the drug without it requiring their daily attention. In the U.S., new female HIV patients are the minority compared to men and transgender women.
However, the low number has not prevented the fear of stigmatization, which led several women to avoid taking the pre-exposure prophylaxis pill (PrEP) for preventing HIV infection. The doctor added that people view taking preventive medicine the same as treating HIV, causing them to avoid it.
But with the new drug, women can take the treatment without their previous fears and allows them a lot of autonomy. Ojikutu notes that having a new PrEP drug doesn’t change the fact that there need to be more HIV preventive outreaches for women. She insisted it must be a part of the routine engagements between doctors and patients if they are to prevent more infections.
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