South Africa’s Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced a new affordable single dose treatment that could possibly revolutionize treatment of HIV/AIDS in the country. The three-in-one anti-retroviral combination will cost each patient a record low $10 per dose.
The Raw Story reports:
After years of refusing to roll out ARVs, South Africa now has 1.9 million people on treatment among its 5.6 million HIV-positive population, which is the world’s largest.
The new pill will be introduced this month to positive pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, people co-infected with TB, and to new ARV patients.
“Before 2010, we were buying the most expensive ARVs in the world. Now we are a country where the ARVs are the cheapest in the world,” Motsoaledi said, adding that they’ll now be able to “increase the number of patients on treatment.”
Under former president Thabo Mbeki, South Africa refused to roll out ARVs, but the nation now has the largest ARV program in the world, and as a result, life expectancy has increased significantly over the last six years.
Fareed Abdullah, the CEO of South African National AIDS Council, said the new pill will simplify the way patients have been used to taking ARV treatment.
“We have come a very long way since the advent of anti-retrovirals,” Abdullah said. “At one point, patients used to take up to 16 pills a day.”