The CARES trial is a vital step in the research pipeline of advancing antiretroviral therapy (ART) while simplifying treatment, especially for certain populations.
Simplification of ART in terms of 1) reducing the pill burden and the frequency of visits to the health facility for drug refills and, 2) providing regimens with fewer drug and or food interactions would improve adherence and in return this would improve treatment response, reduce the risk of treatment failure, and ultimately improve the quality of life.
The switch from standard oral medication to bimonthly (6 times per year) injectable long acting Cabotegravir and Rilpivirine typifies simplification. The benefits of injectable ART have been demonstrated mostly in high-income countries and the evidence from these pivotal trials has supported the authorization of the regimen in the US, Europe, and other settings. However robust evidence to support its use in Africa and similar contexts is missing.
The CARES trial, the first of its kind on the African continent, is expected to inform the roll-out of injectable ART in sub-Saharan Africa and build experience with its administration. The trial aims to demonstrate the feasibility and relevance of this strategy and it will play an important role in informing public health policy around the use of long-acting injectable ART.
We hope that you will journey with CARES through this platform as we provide you with updates on the implementation of this topical study.
Dr. Cissy Kityo Mutuluuza
Chief Investigator, CARES trial