IPS Examines Reaction To Introduction Of Fixed-Dose ARVs In South Africa

Noting “a serious supply shortage [of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment in South Africa last May], the most recent of several stockouts that have plagued the state-funded ARV treatment program since its launch in 2004,” Inter Press Service examines reaction to the introduction of fixed-dose ARVs (FDAs) in the country last month. The news service notes, “Until now, state-funded ARV treatment has comprised three different pills taken at different times during the day. The new FDA combines the three key agents from these pills in a single pill that only needs to be taken once a day.”

“Although welcoming the FDAs as easier and more convenient for patients, activists and health professionals alike have warned that a stockout of the drug could have a catastrophic effect on the country’s public HIV/AIDS treatment program — the largest of its kind in the world,” IPS continues. “The risk of FDAs is that there isn’t really a good fall-back,” Kevin Rebe of the Anova Health Institute, which runs the Health4Men program focusing on HIV prevention and treatment, tells IPS, the news service writes, adding, “He points out that even a few missed doses could result in resistance to treatment.” However, the news service notes, “The introduction of FDAs is also expected to significantly reduce the state’s annual bill for HIV/AIDS treatment” (Bendix, 5/6).

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