Gamechanger HIV injection rolls out in South Africa and Brazil — Global Issues

Hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNITAID announced a groundbreaking development on Friday that is hoped to advance HIV prevention around the world.

Developed by ViiV Healthcare and approved by US health authorities, the injection, which has cabotegravir as active ingredient, provides two months of protection against HIV.

“But we need urgent action to make sure people everywhere can benefit.” speak UNITAID CEO Philippe Duneton.

More viable option

Like other HIV treatments, antiretroviral drugs work by stopping the virus from replicating in the body, effectively reducing the viral load.

Although currently available oral medications — known as “oral pre-exposure prophylaxis,” or oral PrEP — can prevent HIV in 99% of cases, drug absorption is slow, and infection reduction targets are limited. new has been omitted.

This is often because people living with HIV fear stigma, discrimination or violence against their partners if they take the pill every day, said UNITAID spokeswoman Herve Verhoosel.

Long-acting PrEP could have a game-changing effect, improving choice and making HIV prevention a more viable option for more people“He told journalists in Geneva.

However, Mr Verhoosel warned, the high cost of injections – thought to be around $20,000 a year for rich nations – would be banned elsewhere, so “adequate supply and affordable prices” must be guaranteed so that people everywhere can benefit without delay.”

Pilot countries

In Brazil, UNITAID is supporting long-acting cabotegravir injections among transgender people – 30% of whom are living with HIV – and men who have sex with men (18%).

In South Africa, the target audience is adolescent girls and young women, who are infected “at disproportionately high rates”, the UN agency said.

In sub-Saharan Africa, six out of seven new HIV infections among adolescents occur in girlsand young women are twice as likely to live with HIV as their male counterparts,” adds UNITAID.

HIV classification

In a related development on Friday, UNAIDS Congratulations Zimbabwe on eliminating HIV transmission.

“Public health goals are not served by denying people their individual rights and I commend Zimbabwe for taking this critically important step,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima.

“This decision strengthens the HIV response in Zimbabwe by reducing stigma and discrimination that frequently prevent vulnerable groups from receiving HIV prevention, care and treatment services.”

Byanyima’s comments follow the decision of the Zimbabwean Parliament to repeal section 79 of the Penal Code on HIV transmission.

Instead, President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to sign into law a new marriage bill passed by Parliament.

An HIV-positive woman sits at home with her niece in Mangwe, Zimbabwe.

© UNICEF / Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

An HIV-positive woman sits at home with her niece in Mangwe, Zimbabwe.

Make strides

According to UNAIDS, over the past decade, Zimbabwe has made great progress in its response to HIV.

It is estimated that 1.2 million of the 1.3 million people living with HIV in the country are currently taking life-saving drugs.

Furthermore, the number of AIDS-related deaths has decreased by 63% since 2010, with new HIV infections down 66% year-on-year.

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