If the new regimen continues to prove effective, it can be marketed as a brand-name drug to be used in patients with HIV. Along with other branded ART medications, it is likely to cost hundreds to thousands of dollars per year. Like many new drugs, this is done intentionally to offset the costs of years of research and production that brought the drug to market. But as a result, this fuels the divide between existing HIV treatments and affordable HIV treatments. Until the patents are exhausted, allowing for generic drugs and the resulting price reductions, it is unlikely that the reality of accessing and paying for HIV treatment will change substantially.
Meanwhile, we continue to learn more about how HIV works, how it works to infect the body and how it can be treated. Ultimately, a better understanding of the disease will lead us to an accessible and sustainable solution for people living with HIV around the world.
Until that happens, more work is needed to prevent HIV, increase the ease of testing, and interact with legislators on how to reduce the cost of treatment. We have taken a step forward in the development of anti-HIV therapies, but we are several steps back to make sure that they reach the people they are trying to treat.