Improved HIV treatment launched

Image: iStock/ The Citizen

Free State MEC for Health Montseng Tsiu, is excited about new developments in treatment for HIV patients as the globe celebrates World Aids Day.
A new pill which is a combination of Tenofovir, Lamivudine and Dolutegravir (TLD) was launched last week and will be available in the province in January 2020.

TLD is described as a game-changer for people living with HIV because it suppresses the viral load quickly and has less side effects. According to MEC Tsiu, people living with HIV are eligible for the drug regardless of CD4 cell count and clinical stage.

“TLD is a small, easy to swallow tablet that can keep working even if the virus changes. We are well informed by experiences elsewhere in the treatment of patients that while side effects are uncommon, some patients have reported nausea, insomnia or occasional dizziness, but these are mild and manageable,” she said.

The Minister of Health has recently launched the new drug at Ugu District in KwaZulu-Natal whilst the planned date for the Free State is 15 January 2020.

Tsiu explained that the drug may be used by pregnant women as well as those who are planning pregnancies. “In all circumstances and with all other medications, women who want to get pregnant soon, and those who are pregnant, should discuss the benefits and potential risks of TLD with their healthcare provider to make an informed choice,” she said.

“Patients on TB treatment are advised to finish their treatment before switching to TLD. There are other anti-retroviral treatment options to consider while you are on treatment for TB and these can best be discussed with your local health care provider,” added Tsiu.

“We encourage every citizen to check their status, know their status and be enlisted into a treatment regime as soon as possible so that we can fight the scourge of HIV at an appropriate time,” said the MEC.

– Nomaqhawe Mtebele