HIV treatment, now commonly known as Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been in use since the first drug Zidovine (AZT) was discovered in 1987. Subsequent developments have aimed at maximising the benefits of the treatment while also minimising side effects and increasing tolerability through simplification.
Long-acting injectable ART, the most recent development, was licenced in 2020 containing a two-drug combination of Cabotegravir (CAB) and Rilpivirine (RPV). The studies leading to this licensing were intensely regulated, and had populations and settings that have significant differences from the public health approach that is common in ART programs in Africa.
The CARES study, the first of its kind in Africa sets out to determine if the use of Long-acting injectable ART is feasible, safe and efficacious in a public health set up in Africa. With funding from Janssen EMEA and drug donations from both manufactures of Cabotegravir ((Viiv/GSK) and Rilpivirine (Janssen), a multi national clinical trial, coordinated by the Joint C clinical Research Centre has been set up. The overall aim of this study is to determine/demonstrate that switching from taking daily ART pills to injectable long acting RPV +CAB will not reduce the effectiveness of the ART on the participants.