Staff member in Cath Lab in scrubsStaff in scrubs in the Cath LabStaff in scrubs in the Cath Lab


New treatment for HIV patients

Wednesday 1 December 2021

It's been 40 years since HIV was first detected, and treatments continue to advance, with progress in management and prevention therapy having positive outcomes for people’s quality of life.

The latest treatment, expected to arrive in Australia in the new year, is an injectable HIV therapy which can be used both to treat people with HIV and as a preventative strategy to help those at risk of acquiring HIV.

The therapy, called Cabenuva, is a monthly injection that replaces the need for multiple daily tablets, which is likely to be far more convenient and effective for many HIV patients.

Janine Trevillyan, Austin Health's Head of Clinical Virology and HIV Services, spoke of how beneficial having multiple treatment options is.

“These very well tolerated and effective therapies will add a new bow to existing tablet based anti-HIV medications.

“They will allow doctors and patients to choose the type of therapy that best suits them so that they can stay healthy with HIV,” says Janine.

In addition to the progress in treatments, research has confirmed that being on effective therapy and thus having an undetectable HIV viral load means that you are not able to transmit that virus to your partner.

“U=U stands for Undetectable equals untransmissible. This is really important information for people living with HIV and can go a long way to helping to reduce stigma and improve daily life,” says Janine.

Austin Health offers inpatient and outpatient HIV care with nursing and pharmacy support to ensure people receive all their necessary vaccinations and treatments in a timely manner.

“We have an increasing number of people living with HIV that are managed regularly in the clinic, currently over 100,” says Janine.

“We also run shared care services with high case load GPs so that people can be seen regularly by their GP and also get yearly specialist reviews,” says Janine.

The team is also in the process of establishing a new community HIV research network that will allow people living with HIV who are not under the care of a hospital clinic to still get involved in research projects.

Today is World AIDS Day. It raises awareness across the world and in the community about the issues surrounding HIV and AIDS. It is a day for people to show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.