World Health Organization identified rising levels of resistance to HIV drugs, in southern and eastern Africa. Among the causes of drug resistance was poor adherence to treatment. This informed the idea of simplifying the antiretroviral treatment to help those infected stay on it, so as to suppress the virus and prevent it from spreading.
Kenya, Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Swaziland Uganda, were among countries the countries undergoing the clinical trials on new injectable HIV treatment. A total of 3,200 individuals were recruited into the study across the seven countries, for the five-year period project that was in its phase III.
The aim of the clinical trial was to assess if an injectable ARV, administered every two months is safe and can reduce an individual’s risk of acquiring HIV when they are exposed, to become the drug of choice for use as PrEP, as opposed to the oral pill that must be taken on a daily basis.
In Kenya and Uganda, the trial focused on HIV negative, healthy women of reproductive age, 18 to 45. Uganda’s Director General of Aids Commission, today revealed that the clinical trials on the new injectable HIV treatment are being finalised and its government will unveil it next year. According to the Director, the treatment will reduce the problem of stigma and discrimination and help end HIV prevalence which is a major public health threat across East Africa by 2030.
“Research is in advanced stages on the injectable treatment for HIV that patients will take one dose after every eight weeks. This new treatment comes with a lot of relief and convenience,” he said. This treatment will also curb the low adherence to medication as it will be unlikely that patients will forget the treatment schedules.
Women and girls with HIV remain disproportionately affected by discrimination. Come next year, with the bimonthly pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) injectable approved, hundreds of patients with HIV will be visiting clinics and virus will be completely suppressed.