Cutting-edge HIV drug introduced in South Africa

South Africa has begun rolling out an antiretroviral drug to decrease the number of people living with HIV.

©  Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images

The state-of-the-art three-in-one pill started being distributed on World Aids Day last Sunday and is expected to treat the 7.7 million South Africans who have HIV.

The new drug has been described by South Africa’s health minister, Zweli Mkhize as “the fastest way to reduce HIV viral load”. It is easier to take than other formulations and is known to have fewer side effects.

Robert Matiru, from the global health development organisations Unitaid, which funded the development of the new drug said to The Guardian: “The introduction of this new regimen, known as TLD, is a major milestone and game-changer for South Africa, which has the highest burden of HIV of any country in the world.”

“The government has the very ambitious plan of switching the 4.8 million South Africans who are currently on the older regimen of HIV treatment on to this new regimen by 2021, in addition to getting the remaining [roughly] 3 million people who are not currently on HIV treatment on to this regimen by then as well. It’s a massive undertaking to put in place, and is a really welcome move for the people of South Africa.”

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