Manila, Philippines — South Africa announced on Wednesday that it will launch an affordable and “cutting-edge” HIV-fighting drug in the country.
According to the Health Department, the new anti-retroviral drug, “the fastest way to reduce HIV viral load,” will become known as “TLD” on International World AIDS Day on December 1.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize revealed the pioneering drug at a ceremony in southwestern KwaZulu-Natal, “the province with the country’s highest prevalence rates”, where more than one-fourth of the population is infected.
The three-in-one pill is combined with the drugs tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, lamivudine, and dolutegravir.
According to Unitaid’s director of operations Robert Matiru, the new TLD drug is “highly effective and has much more rapid viral suppression” than is currently used. “It has fewer side effects in general and is much more resilient… and also is even cheaper”.
A pill combination is expected to make it easier and more affordable for those infected with the virus “to begin – and stay on – treatment.”
According to Unitaid, prices start at P3,800 per person per year and can go down. (Cate Pallarco/IAMIGO/CNS)