MoHSS introduces new effective HIV drug

29 Aug 2019 19:30pm
WINDHOEK, 29 AUG (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) has introduced a new drug known as Dolutegravir for patients on HIV treatment.
Dolutegravir is a second-generation HIV integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI) and the most recent antiretroviral approved for treatment of HIV-1 infection.
Speaking during the launch of the sixth National Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Guidelines here on Thursday, Senior Medical Advisor for HIV and Tuberculosis, Dr Ndapewa Hamunime explained that the new drug replaces Efavirenz, which is the current regiment for HIV patients.
She noted that the majority of HIV patients in Namibia are on the first-line treatment, which is comprised of the newly introduced drug of a fixed dose combination (one pill) of tenofovir-lamivudine-dolutegravir - regarded as highly effective in terms of tolerance, maintenance and high genetic barrier.
“We will still have a few people on the current regiment which have a combination dosage of Efavirenz instead of Dolutegravir because some people might not tolerate it due to one reason or another. However, the majority will be on the new regiment,” she explained.
Hamunime explained that HIV medication changes constantly due to continuous updates of new scientific and programmatic evidences, as well as to conform to the World Health Organisation recommendations.
She highlighted that in Namibia there are more than 200 000 people who have tested positive for HIV at public health institutions, of whom over 11 000 are children and 185 000 individuals, both adult and children, are on treatment.
“Although we are doing well in terms of the epidemic control, we need to continue on the prevention of new infections of HIV. We know we cannot end HIV, but if infected people’s viral load is suppressed, they will not pass the virus on to other people,” she explained.