There is a glimmer of hope for those living with HIV. A new treatment is set to hit the market in January 2020, bringing with it new avenues to lead a full and healthy life.
This follows Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize recently launching a new fixed-dose combination antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. Called tenofovir/lamivudine/dolutegravir, or simply known as TLD, Dr Mkhize is excited about the potential of the medication.
Emphasising that it is more cost-efficient, Dr Mkhize says this is not the only positive aspect of the new treatment. There are also fewer side effects and it will assist the government with its plan of helping 1.2 million more people by December 2020.
The roll-out of the new three-in-one pill can also possibly avert up to 300,000 new infections in the next 20 years.
Dr Regina Osih of the Aurum Institute adds the medication will minimise the chance of people developing resistance and depression. This is a vast improvement on the current options available for HIV patients.
While the treatment will only be available in certain health facilities as of January 2020, not everyone will be put onto it immediately.
According to Dr Osih, the change in treatment will take place in phases. New patients starting with HIV treatment will be taking part in the first phase, with a gradual move to the rest.
Yvette Raphael, programme manager at Advocacy for Prevention of HIV and AIDS, is elated about TLD. She claims this treatment is a step in the right direction. With treatment being cheaper, she says there will be no reason why public health facilities will run out of stock.
With January 2020 mere weeks away, it seems HIV patients have much to look forward to in the new year with the SA government striving to make a positive impact on the lives of scores of people.