First Demonstration Project of Long-Acting Injectable Antiretroviral Therapy for Persons With and Without Detectable Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Viremia in an Urban HIV Clinic

Clin Infect Dis. 2023 Feb 8;76(3):e645-e651. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciac631.


Background: Long-acting injectable antiretroviral therapy (LAI-ART) is approved for treatment-naive or experienced people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV; PWH) based on trials that only included participants with viral suppression. We performed the first LAI-ART demonstration project to include PWH unable to achieve or maintain viral suppression due to challenges adhering to oral ART.

Methods: Ward 86 is a large HIV clinic in San Francisco that serves publicly insured and underinsured patients. We started patients on LAI-ART via a structured process of provider referral, multidisciplinary review (MD, RN, pharmacist), and monitoring for on-time injections. Inclusion criteria were willingness to receive monthly injections and a reliable contact method.

Results: Between June 2021 and April 2022, 51 patients initiated LAI-ART, with 39 receiving at least 2 follow-up injections by database closure (median age, 46 years; 90% cisgender men, 61% non-White, 41% marginally housed, 54% currently using stimulants). Of 24 patients who initiated injections with viral suppression (median CD4 cell count, 706 cells/mm3), 100% (95% confidence interval [CI], 86%-100%) maintained viral suppression. Of 15 patients who initiated injections with detectable viremia (median CD4 cell count, 99 cells/mm3; mean log10 viral load, 4.67; standard deviation, 1.16), 12 (80%; 95% CI, 55%-93%) achieved viral suppression, and the other 3 had a 2-log viral load decline by a median of 22 days.

Conclusions: This small demonstration project of LAI-ART in a diverse group of patients with high levels of substance use and marginal housing demonstrated promising early treatment outcomes, including in those with detectable viremia due to adherence challenges. More data on LAI-ART in hard-to-reach populations are needed.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS; engagement in care; injectable cabotegravir and rilpivirine; long-acting antiretroviral therapy; viral suppression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents* / therapeutic use
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • HIV
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Viral Load
  • Viremia / drug therapy


  • Anti-HIV Agents