Botswana has approved the use of injectable antiretroviral drugs to improve HIV treatment adherence.
The injections, given every two months, are more convenient than the daily pills that patients sometimes skip, Health Secretary Edwin Dicolotti said.
Health Secretary Edwin Dicolotti said use of injectable antiretrovirals would begin next year following the drug’s recent approval.
“The government is working to introduce injectable antiretroviral drugs soon. Botswana, under the professional guidance of the Clinical Guidelines Committee, has adopted the use of bi-monthly parenteral antiretrovirals for both prevention and treatment,” said Diccoloti.
Minister Dicolotti said the measure would help allay concerns that patients mix up their daily oral dose.
“ARVs, both for prevention and for treatment, will undoubtedly improve HIV treatment adherence in our country.
The formulation of injectable ARVs includes capotegravir and rilpivirine. registration process,” DiColotti said.
HIV activist Bonosi Pino Cegademo said the introduction of injectable drugs would not only help adherence but also reduce the stigma attached to the virus that causes AIDS.
“I think injectable ARVs will help a lot of people in terms of adherence because so much of the pattern is taking the pill every day. in public than in office hours (in healthcare facilities). Not that all people on ART accepted their condition. It’s a relief for anyone struggling to swallow a bottle of medicine.”
In 2019, the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute conducted clinical trials to determine the effectiveness of the injectable drug.
The study proved that the drug is safe and highly effective in preventing HIV.
Kennedy Mobili is the program officer at the Youth Center for Hope, an NGO for young people living with HIV in Botswana.
“We as activists are so excited that HIV medicine has really progressed to this level. Who knows, in the near future this will be done twice a year. It can also lead people to get tested because people have this phobia of the daily pills, Mobelli said.
With the fourth highest prevalence of HIV infection worldwide, Botswana is the second country in Africa, after South Africa, to have adopted the use of injectable ARVs.