Drugs from companies such as GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK), Gilead Sciences (NSDQ:GILD) and Merck (NYSE:MRK) are reportedly being considered for large-scale trials evaluating injectable HIV prevention therapies.
Eventually, researchers hope to produce matchstick-sized implants that could provide year-long protection to vulnerable populations.
Foster City, Calif.-based Gilead has a once-daily pill, Truvada, which prevents HIV infection during sex. Pre-exposure prophylaxis, also known as PrEP, can lessen the risk of catching the virus by more than 90% if the pill is taken regularly. Many patients, however, do not adhere to the regimen and some women reported in trials in Africa that they were reluctant to have HIV tablets in their houses because of the virus’s stigma.