By NewsDay Zimbabwe
ZIMBABWE has become the first country in Africa to approve use of long-acting injectable, Cabotegravir (CAB-LA), a pre-exposure prophylaxis (Prep) dose for HIV prevention.
This follows World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations in July 2022 that CAB-LA may be offered to people at substantial risk of HIV acquisition as part of comprehensive HIV prevention approaches.
Studies show that CAB-LA injections; if taken every two months are safe, well-tolerated, and highly effective in reducing the risk of HIV acquisition among men who have sex with men and transgender, and cisgender women.
Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) executive director Itai Rusike said the injectable had proven to be effective in HIV prevention. He said it was widely available and accessible.
“Prep dramatically reduces the risk of HIV acquisition for women as well as men. We are aware that for more than a decade, WHO has recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women at risk of HIV should be offered Prep. The people of Zimbabwe should embrace this new development in order to reduce the risk of HIV infection.”Itai Rusike
Medical and Dental Private Practitioners Association of Zimbabwe president Johannes Marisa said the injectable would be more efficient in pregnant mothers.
“Drug compliance was becoming a challenge for most patients so an injectable is better as it is long lasting.”Johannes Marisa
WHO director of Global HIV, Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infection programmes, Meg Doherty said CAB-LA would pave way for more safe and effective options for HIV prevention.