New HIV drug not to be used in isolation - Aids organisation

December 13, 2015, 3:13pm

News24, photo: AFP

Johannesburg - Users of the newly-approved HIV preventative drug, Truvada, must be educated about its use, an HIV/Aids educational organisation said on Sunday.

"The public needs to get as much information as possible prior to using the drug. I must also stress that those taking the drug need to be HIV negative, therefore testing and knowing your status remains crucial," said Dr Ramneek Ahluwalia, the Director of the Higher Education and Training HIV/Aids Programme (HEAIDS) in a statement.

"The provision of Truvada must be used as an additional measure to fighting the infection of the disease."

Ahluwalia’s comments follow the announcement by the health department this week that the drug has been approved.

She said that the provision of the drug was a step in the right direction, but cautioned against using it in isolation as a preventative measure to contracting HIV/Aids.

HEAIDS works to provide information, services and products, such as condoms, to students.

"Evidence has revealed that students are in a high-risk group with regard to contracting HIV, STIs and TB."

On Tuesday, it was announced that the SA Medicines Control Council had approved the use of the drug.

Truvada, which is administered in the form of a pill, works up to 100% of the time in preventing the transmission of HIV, if taken daily.

"We will be using this drug to target specifically high risk individuals such as sex workers, men who have sex with men as well as young girls and women aged between 15 and 24 years old," Department of Health Deputy Director General of HIV, TB and Women and Child Health, Dr Yogan Pillay said at the time.