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New trial set to determine efficacy of long-acting HIV medication in at-risk group

  • May 09, 2019
In a new trial led by the NIH, researchers will evaluate whether a long-acting medication will be beneficial for patients who are not normally consistent with medication.

LatitudeJoomlaAadia Rana, M.DA new clinical trial led by the National Institutes of Health will evaluate the effectiveness of an innovative strategy using long-acting antiretroviral therapy, or ART, combined with conditional economic incentives for patients living with HIV who have had a history of non-adherence to daily oral medication and treatment.

The Long-Acting Therapy to Improve Treatment SUccess in Daily LifE — or LATITUDE — study will determine whether monthly ART injectables can help manage and treat HIV in this vulnerable population as compared to traditional ART treatments. While transformable in the treatment of HIV, traditional ART is often not taken as prescribed, thus continuing transmission to others and not providing suppression for those infected.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that up to a quarter of people prescribed ART stop taking the medication at some point, often due to factors like stigmas associated with the disease or socioeconomic status.

“We know that regular adherence to ART can enable those living with HIV to lead healthier and longer lives and minimize transmission of the virus, but consistency in taking medication — especially on a daily level — is difficult,” said Aadia Rana, M.D., associate professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for AIDS Research and national co-chair of the LATITUDE study. “Determining whether monthly injectables can provide a level of convenience and dependability for patients will be key in potentially changing how HIV is treated in the future.”

The study will enroll 350 at-risk participants at sites across the country, including UAB, where two experimental ART injections — rilpivirine and cabetegravir — will be given to different groups. The participants will begin a daily oral ART regimen supported with conditional economic incentives. Once they are virally suppressed at 24 weeks, patients will be randomized either to use the injectable for one year or to continue their existing ART.

After the 52-week trial has concluded, findings will be measured to determine efficacy and next steps for ART.

To learn more about the LATITUDE study or to enroll, please contact the Alabama-Clinical Trials Unit at the UAB Center for AIDS Research.