- 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.
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.