Kenya Joins Trials For 'Game-Changing' Monthly HIV Pill

The fight against HIV is set to receive a major boost if the trials for a monthly HIV pill is proven effective.

The third phase of the trial will involve 4,000 healthy, HIV-uninfected women between the ages of 16-45, across 21 sites that will include Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Malawi, eSwatini, Zimbabwe and Zambia. 

If the trials are successful, Islatravir is likely to replace Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) which is taken daily. Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken daily. "This could be a game-changer If you only had to take one little tablet once per month and not deal with daily pill-taking and storage. Prevention is key to ending the HIV epidemic," Dr Connie Celum, Washington University's professor of global health, medicine and epidemiology, and the trial's lead investigator said.

Out of 34 million HIV-positive people worldwide, 69% are estimated to live in sub-Saharan Africa.

The new pill was reportedly necessitated by the low uptake of PrEP in African countries, including Kenya, writes Leonard Onyango for The Nation.

InFocus

(file photo).

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