A new class of HIV drugs has been listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, providing new opportunities for people with multiple resistances.

The release of Maraviroc marks a new phase in HIV treatment as the first entry blocker drug made available in Australia.

“This drug is a whole new class of drugs. It means people who might have built up resistance to other classes would probably have a good shot with this drug,” ACON’s director of client services, Russell Westacott said.

“All drugs attack the virus at a part of its life cycle. This drug attacks the virus as it enters the cells of the immune system. There are other drugs that attack the virus in other parts of its replication, but this one gets in before it enters the cell.”

Although this does not provide any added benefits compared to other HIV medications, Maraviroc will be of benefit to people who have difficulties with other classes of drugs.

Currently only available in Australia to people who have built-up multiple drug resistance, Maraviroc is available overseas as a first-line treatment.

“We are hoping the [PBS] will soon make the drug available as a first-line therapy option for people with HIV,” Westacott said.

“It could provide someone who goes to the doctor to start treatment, or who wants to change treatments, with more options.”

info: For more information, talk to your doctor, visit www.acon.org.au/hiv/news/maraviroc or call the men’s health promotion team on 9699 8756.

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