New HIV drug with fewer side effects introduced by Health Department

The Department of Health has launched a new three-in-one HIV pill that will help people suffer fewer side effects as they take control of their health.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize kicked off South Africa’s rollout of the new HIV tablet in KwaZulu-Natal’s Ugu District.

During the launch, Mkhize said the new pill would accelerate viral suppression in those living with HIV throughout the country.

The new pill has a combination of tenofovir, lamivudine and dolutegravir.

Refilwe Moloto speaks to Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism deputy editor Laura Lopez Gonzalez to find out more.

RELATED: How climate change could affect mother-to-child HIV infection rate

The Department of Health has put three medications into one and patients will still take only one pill once a day.

Laura Lopez Gonzalez, Deputy Editor - Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism

The new combination introduces a new drug called dolutegravir and it is paired alongside other ARVs that we've had in the system.

Laura Lopez Gonzalez, Deputy Editor - Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism

Gonzalez says women living with HIV have been fighting for this drug in South Africa for a number of years.

Dolutegravir came out in 2013 and it was built as this wonder drug, you can take without food and has fewer side effects and it was able to bring down the level of HIV in the blood.

Laura Lopez Gonzalez, Deputy Editor - Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism

When the levels of HIV in your blood falls to very low levels with HIV treatment you start to be viral undetectable or virally suppressed. When you are virally suppressed you are unable to transmit the virus.

Laura Lopez Gonzalez, Deputy Editor - Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism

Listen to the full interview below...


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : New HIV drug with fewer side effects introduced by Health Department


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