In Summary
  • The new three-in-one pill was developed with the financial backing of global health development organisation Unitaid.
  • Dolutegravir is the preferred first-line and second-line treatment recommended by the WHO.
  • The fixed dose, one pill combination is hoped to make it easier and more affordable.
  • South Africa accounts for more than 10 percent of all HIV-related deaths.

South Africa said it is introducing an affordable, cutting-edge drug to fight HIV in the country with the largest number of people living with the AIDS-causing virus.

Hailing the new anti-retroviral drug as "the fastest way to reduce HIV viral load", the health department said it will start rolling out the advanced pill known as TLD on December 1 international World Aids Day.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize unveiled the pioneering drug at a ceremony in southwestern KwaZulu-Natal, the province with the country's highest prevalence rates, where more than a quarter of the population is infected.

UNITAID BACKING

The new three-in-one pill, developed with the financial backing of global health development organisation Unitaid, bands together the drugs tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, lamivudine and dolutegravir.

Dolutegravir is the preferred first-line and second-line treatment recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and is already the drug of choice in high-income countries.

Unitaid's Director of Operations Robert Matiru said the new TLD drug "is highly effective and has much more rapid viral suppression" than the current treatment regime.

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