Objectives A novel long-acting regimen (LAR) of cabotegravir and rilpivirine for HIV treatment requires dosing every 2 months instead of daily. We assessed what proportion of people living with HIV and physicians would be interested in trying and offering LAR respectively and why.
Methods 688 people living with HIV on treatment, and 120 HIV physicians completed web-based surveys in Germany, Italy, the UK and France during 2019. Balanced description of a hypothetical LAR regarding efficacy, administration and possible side effects were provided. The hypothetical long-acting injections were assumed to be cost-neutral to current daily oral antiretrovirals. Interest of people living with HIV in trying (‘very’/’highly’) and physicians’ willingness to offer (‘definitely’/’probably’) this LAR in different situations, with perceived benefits/concerns was measured.
Results Of people living with HIV, 65.8% were interested in trying LAR. The majority (~80%–90%) of those with unmet needs felt LAR would help, including those with strong medical needs (malabsorption and interfering gastrointestinal conditions), suboptimal adherence, confidentiality/privacy concerns and emotional burden of daily dosing. Of physicians, percentage willing to offer LAR varied situationally: strong medical need (dysphagia, 93.3%; malabsorption, 91.6%; interfering gastrointestinal issues, 90.0%; central nervous system disorders, 87.5%); suboptimal adherence (84.2%); confidentiality/privacy concerns (hiding medications, 86.6%) and convenience/lifestyle (84.2%). People living with HIV liked LAR for not having to carry pills when travelling (56.3%); physicians liked the increased patient contact (54.2%). Furthermore, 50.0% of people living with HIV perceived LAR would minimise transmission risk and improve their sexual health. The most disliked attribute was scheduling appointments (37.2%) and resource constraints (57.5%) for people living with HIV and physicians, respectively. Physicians estimated 25.7% of their patients would actually switch.
Conclusion Providers and people living with HIV viewed the described LAR as addressing several unmet needs. Alternative treatment routes and especially LAR may improve adherence and quality of life.
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