Asked Questions

Asked Questions

CABENUVA is a different kind of HIV treatment, so you may have different kinds of questions. That’s perfectly okay. Below are answers to some things that may be on your mind.

Learning about CABENUVA

  • What is CABENUVA?

    CABENUVA is the first and only long-acting, complete HIV regimen you can get monthly or every other month, instead of daily HIV pills.

    CABENUVA is given by a healthcare provider as 2 injections, initially 1 month apart for 2 months. It's important to attend all appointments.

    Learn more about CABENUVA.

  • What does “undetectable HIV” mean?

    Undetectable means the amount of HIV in the blood is below the level that can be measured by a lab test (less than 50 copies/mL).

  • Do I have to be undetectable to get CABENUVA?

    CABENUVA is approved for people 12 years and older and weighing at least 77 lbs (35 kg) to replace their current HIV-1 medicines in those who are undetectable. Talk to your doctor to see if CABENUVA could be right for you.

  • Can CABENUVA keep me undetectable?

    CABENUVA is clinically proven to help keep people undetectable for up to 2 months, depending on the treatment plan. Results may vary.

    To help stay undetectable, it's important to keep your planned appointments and stick to your treatment plan.

    Long-acting CABENUVA contains 2 medicines that slowly release over time to keep around the same level of medicines in your body between appointments.

    See the CABENUVA clinical study results.

  • How long has CABENUVA been around?

    Once-monthly CABENUVA was approved by the FDA in 2021, as the first long-acting, complete HIV regimen. In 2022, it was also approved to be given once every other month.

  • What medicines make up CABENUVA?

    CABENUVA includes rilpivirine and cabotegravir. Oral rilpivirine has been an HIV treatment option since 2011. Cabotegravir, a medicine from another established drug class, was approved in 2021.

  • How is CABENUVA every-other-month dosing different besides its schedule?

    Every-other-month CABENUVA and monthly CABENUVA use the same medicines to help you stay undetectable, but the amount of medicine you receive at each treatment appointment is different, depending on your chosen treatment plan.

  • Can I switch my CABENUVA dosing schedule?

    Switching dosing schedules may be an option for you. The best way to find out is to ask your doctor if switching to every-other-month CABENUVA is right for you—they can advise you on the steps you'll need to take.

Getting started on CABENUVA

  • How do I start?

    The first step is to talk to your doctor. Once they prescribe CABENUVA, they’ll walk you through how to switch to CABENUVA and answer any questions that may come up. 

    Before beginning long-acting CABENUVA injections, your doctor may have you start out with pills that contain the 2 medicines in CABENUVA, to see how your body reacts. You’ll take these 2 starter pills once a day with a meal, for about a month.

    Learn more about getting started with CABENUVA.

  • How much does CABENUVA cost? Will my insurance cover CABENUVA?

    If you’re prescribed CABENUVA, you can enroll in ViiVConnect to determine your insurance coverage and find out if you’re eligible for programs that may help lower your out-of-pocket costs.

    The amount you pay for CABENUVA will largely depend on your insurance coverage, so contact your provider, as they know the details of your plan. Your doctor’s office, insurance provider, and ViiVConnect can help you better understand your out-of-pocket costs.

    Learn more about ViiVConnect.

  • Why might I have to take starter pills before I start CABENUVA injections?

    Your doctor may want to see if the medicines in CABENUVA are right for you before beginning the long-acting injections. In this case, you'd replace your current HIV regimen with these starter pills so you and your doctor can see how your body reacts to the medicine in the pills, which is the same as the medicines in CABENUVA.

    Once you're receiving regular CABENUVA injections, you won't have to take any more daily HIV pills.

What to expect the day of your treatment appointment

  • When can I start my long-acting injections?

    Once your doctor prescribes CABENUVA, you will set up your treatment plan and schedule your first appointment.

    Before you begin injections, your doctor may have you take about a month of once-daily starter pills to see how your body reacts to the 2 medicines in CABENUVA.

  • Who injects CABENUVA?

    CABENUVA is given to you by a trained healthcare professional.

  • Where on my body do I get my injectable treatment?

    During your appointment, a trained healthcare professional will give you 2 injections, 1 in each side of your buttocks. Each injection contains 1 of the 2 medicines in CABENUVA.

  • Do CABENUVA injections hurt?

    During the CABENUVA clinical studies, injection-site reactions were common, mostly mild to moderate, and resolved within about 3 days after the first symptoms.

    Injection-site reactions included pain, tenderness, hardened mass or lump, swelling, redness, itching, bruising, and warmth at the injection site.

    Injection-site reactions were reported less often the longer people were on treatment. The true rate of injection-site reactions over time may be underestimated, as symptoms that occurred may not have been reported during the study.

    Results may vary.

  • Can I return to regular activities right after my treatment appointment?

    Your doctor may ask you to wait about 10 minutes after your treatment to check for any reactions. Following that, it should be fine to return to your daily activities, but always check with your doctor.

  • Does someone need to drive me to and from my appointment?

    It should be fine to drive yourself to and from your appointment, but you should always check with your doctor.

Scheduling your appointments

CABENUVA clinical studies

  • Has CABENUVA been tested in clinical studies?

    CABENUVA was tested in 3 clinical studies, involving more than 2,200 undetectable adults who either switched or continued their HIV regimen.

    See the CABENUVA clinical study results.

  • Who was included in the CABENUVA clinical studies?

    The CABENUVA clinical study participants included a diverse range of people across age, race, and gender. The group was composed of women (including transgender women), men, African Americans, Caucasians, Hispanics, and a variety of ages, including people aged from 12 years to 50 years and older. These people were already undetectable and either switched or continued their HIV regimen.

    See what people have to say about being on CABENUVA.

  • What are the CABENUVA clinical study results?

    The clinical studies showed that long-acting CABENUVA is proven to help keep people undetectable. About 9 out of 10 people remained undetectable, whether they were on daily HIV pills or CABENUVA. Less than 2% of people did not remain undetectable (primary endpoint). Results may vary.

    Daily pill regimens contained dolutegravir and 2 nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) or 2 NRTIs plus a protease inhibitor (PI), non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI), or integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI).

    See questions below for information on side effects.

    Read more about CABENUVA clinical studies.

CABENUVA risks & side effects

  • What are the most common side effects of CABENUVA?

    The most common side effects of CABENUVA are injection-site reactions, fever, tiredness, headache, muscle or bone pain, nausea, sleep problems, dizziness, and rash. Injection-site reactions included pain, tenderness, hardened mass or lump, swelling, redness, itching, bruising, and warmth at the injection site.

    These aren’t the only possible side effects of CABENUVA. See the Risks & Side Effects page. Always tell your doctor if you experience any side effect.

    You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.        

  • Are there any drug interactions?

    Make sure to tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Some medicines interact with CABENUVA. 

    Do not receive CABENUVA if you are taking carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, rifabutin, rifampin, rifapentine, dexamethasone (more than a single-dose treatment), and St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum).

    Keep a list of your medicines and show it to your doctor and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

  • Can you develop treatment resistance while on CABENUVA?

    In the CABENUVA clinical studies, very few people experienced resistance to CABENUVA. Only people who did not respond to treatment were tested for resistance. 

    It’s important to keep your regular appointments and stay on treatment to reduce the risk of developing resistance.

  • Can CABENUVA be administered during pregnancy?

    Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if CABENUVA can harm your unborn baby.

  • Is CABENUVA safe if I’m breastfeeding?

    Before you receive CABENUVA, tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you take CABENUVA. You should not breastfeed if you have HIV-1 because of the risk of passing HIV-1 to your baby. It is not known if CABENUVA can pass to your baby in your breast milk.

  • What if CABENUVA is not right for me?

    If you try CABENUVA and you don’t think it’s right for you, that’s okay. You can work with your doctor to switch to a treatment that’s a better fit for you.

IS Long-Acting
treatment right
for you?

Here’s how to have the conversation with your doctor.