HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus and is characterized by a variety of symptoms. While there is currently not a cure for HIV, there are medications available that can slow down or even prevent HIV from advancing on to the final stage where it becomes AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Though HIV treatments have advanced greatly and allow many people to live normal life spans, unmet needs endure. Some patients find strict protocols, like daily regimens, difficult to maintain. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is most commonly prescribed immediately after an HIV diagnosis. ART consists of three different medications and may require patients take multiple pills several times a day. When a patient struggles with taking multiple pills, multiple times a day, treatment may be interrupted, leading to drug-resistant strains of the disease, making medications ineffective. With promising new treatments in development, patients have exciting options to look forward to.
HIV Drugs in Development
If approved, Lenacapavir will be an injectable HIV medication. Similar to injectables you take once a month in a doctor’s office, Lenacapavir is a good alternative for patients who find it difficult to take multiple pills throughout the day. The biggest improvement patients have to look forward to is that Lenacapavir is given every 6 months. Lenacapavir works by affecting the shell that protects the virus and inhibits it from multiplying, reducing the amount of HIV present in the patient. Additionally, studies show Lenacapavir to be effective against drug-resistant strains of HIV. FDA approval of Lenacapavir is expected soon.
Islatravir is a new treatment that is taken weekly. Islatravir works to block a protein that helps the virus multiply, decreasing the levels of HIV in the body. Islatravir also demonstrates success at working against drug-resistant strains of the virus.
HIV Vaccines in Development
A therapeutic HIV vaccine is in development. Unlike a vaccine that prevents a patient from contracting a disease, this therapeutic vaccine treats the condition. HIV Patients would receive the therapeutic vaccine to help strengthen their immune system’s response to the virus. The goal of this treatment is to prevent AIDS from developing in HIV patients without taking an ART. A different type of vaccine is also being developed- the HTI vaccine, which works by attacking a part of the virus that lets it make copies of itself. This treatment has given some patients the ability to stay off ART medications for half a year. Researchers are hoping to make this effect last longer.
Great advancements have been made in gene editing as a treatment for a variety of treatments and conditions. Gene editing technology, called CRISPR, changes an organism’s DNA. By changing the HIV in ways that make it easier to treat, patients could receive a one-time treatment that would cure the disease.
How does PFSP help its specialty patients?
Treating HIV/AIDS can be difficult, but with the team of pharmacists and pharmacy staff at PFSP behind you encouraging and reminding you to stay on track- the process can be easier. Our team will be there to not only monitor and manage your medications, but to assist with medication adherence– ensuring that you stay disciplined in the rigorous treatment process and take the right medications at the right times. We can help you and your care team achieve better outcomes by offering one-to-one guidance, refill reminders, patient training, and educational materials.
PFSP Specialty Pharmacy provides patients and their physicians an exceptionally high standard of care with our growing team of specialized pharmacists and staff. Our dedicated team of pharmacists focus on improving adherence for patients and work to find an approach that works best for them. Bringing a fresh take on what a Specialty Pharmacy can and should be, we are committed to the care of our patients. We take pride in being an ethical resource within our community and strive each day to help our patients live enriching and full lives.