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Health and Disease

Pill or Shot?

HIV infections have spread throughout women through a prolonging period of years. However, a new breakthrough appeared, allowing for women to possibly take long-lasting shots rather than daily pills of two drugs. The real question comes to what would battle HIV further: pills or shots?

Abstract

HIV infections have spread throughout women through a prolonging period of years. Women have not been able to combat it effectively as obstacles prevent them from using the medicine. However, a new breakthrough appeared, allowing for women to possibly take long-lasting shots rather than daily pills of two drugs. These shots would allow women safety while not having to be attentive to it daily. This would be a simple treatment that could prevent women’s stress, allow for an effective alternative, and be able to help women who don’t have access in communities of poverty and lack of healthcare. The real question comes to what would battle HIV further: pills or shots?

Background

Although many women may be told they have a high risk of contracting HIV, they are not given the opportunity for being able to use PrEP pills. The pill is called Truvada and is utilized by an extremely small percentage of people. According to a 2018 research study, 6 percent of over 100,000 users have used Truvada. This pill is not made available to all groups of women yet, research has shown that the women who have stuck to the pill had difficulty in taking it every day without forgetting. Many women also feel the need to conceal the fact that they have HIV due to the stereotype that women infected with HIV would be insulted or accused of infidelity. This continued to portray that HIV has created obstacles for women such as societal challenges and physical challenges. Many women reside in neighborhoods with low-quality healthcare, lack of resources, or violence infested neighborhoods. If an injection, however, were to be approved, women would be able to utilize this and not be forced to conceal that they have HIV. Along with that, the shot would allow women comfort so that they weren’t forced to stick to a schedule that would constantly stress them out and cause psychological pain. 

Data and Analysis

A study was conducted where 38 women were grouped together to test whether pills were more effective or if shots were. 4 of the women were taking the shot while 34 had been taking the PrEP pill. This allowed for the opportunity to analyze results and also be able to see whether the injection would be safe enough to be distributed and approved. The results were rather exciting as they showed that the injections effectively combatted the injections in comparison to the pills. They reduced HIV infections by 89 percent compared to the effect of the pills, showing how the shot affected women in great ways that would help the women rather than harm. In a trial that involved cisgender men and transgender women who were having intercourse with men, it resulted in injections reducing infections by 66% compared to pills. The shot does not solve all the obstacles women face in HIV, but it would definitely gear towards the direction of assisting women who are not receiving enough help or access to the resources that they require.

   Perhaps this injection will introduce flourishing opportunities that would help combat the obstacles women face more effectively. For now, the shot has triumphed over PrEP pills, providing women with a choice that they get to pick in order to be more comfortable and safe with. This choice is a step in the direction of providing women the resources they need to prevent HIV infections.

Sajia Athai, Youth Medical Journal 2021

References

(1) Cunningham, Aimee. Long-Lasting Shots Work Better than Daily Pills to Prevent HIV in at-Risk Women. 1 Dec. 2020, http://www.sciencenews.org/article/hiv-prevention-women-prep-truvada-pill-shot.

By Sajia Athai

Sajia Athai is a student at Stuyvesant High School in New York. She is interested in the fields of neurology, medicine, research, and pediatrics.

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