New HIV Treatments
Human immunodeficiency virus, more commonly referred to as HIV, is one of the biggest epidemics the world has known. Although rates have been declining (new diagnoses of HIV dropped a whopping 19 percent between 2005 and 2014), there are still millions of people affected by this life-changing virus. Young people are especially affected by the disease, with those between 13-24 years of age making up almost a quarter of new diagnoses. Still, with over six thousand deaths per year from HIV and AIDS, it is more important than ever that the discovery of new treatments continues to be pursued. As of 2015, new drugs were added to the arsenal of weapons physicians can use against HIV. They are Triumeq, Stribild, and Genvoya. Read on to learn more about these new HIV treatment options.
In August of 2014, UK-based company ViiV announced that their drug Triumeq had finally been approved by the American Food and Drug Administration. Triumeq is a dolutegravir-based fixed-dose combination that combines anintegrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI) with nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). Many HIV patients take many medications daily to control their disease as well as treat the symptoms it causes. Triumeq offers patients the opportunity to take fewer pills with this single-pill medication. There are some caveats, as this pill should not be taken by HIV-positive people with certain genetic markers or who have resistance to certain components of the drug. For most patients, Triumeq is a great opportunity to ease treatment.
Stribild is a combination drug that was approved by the FDA just a few years ago, and was available for immediate release upon the ruling to approve it. Stribild contains four drugs, two of which were previously available and two new ones - elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. This combination pill also allows HIV patients to find some relief in the daily struggle to maintain and control their disease by administering four potent medications with one single pill. This one-and-done approach is widely popular amongst patients who have been struggling with the disease for a long time, as well as those who are struggling with the psychological burden of a fresh diagnosis. Stribild is so successful, after 48 weeks of treatment, between 88 to 90 percent of patients had undetectable amounts of the HIV virus in their blood. That means that this drug has the potential to allow HIV-positive patients to live strong, healthy lives for years without deteriorating as patients would in the past.
Finally, Genvoya is the newest HIV drug on the market. This drug, from manufacturer Gilead, was specially designed for HIV patients who had suffered bone loss or kidney disease as a result of side effects from other, harsher HIV medications. This drug is also a combination drug that uses a new form of the drug tenofovir, and it releases more tenofovir into the blood cells than is released into the bloodstream, minimizing life-threatening side effects. This drug is only approved for patients newly diagnosed with HIV as well as for those whose HIV is currently suppressed, without high levels of the virus being detected in the bloodstream.