Durban – The South African Medicines Control Council have approved the use of a drug that is set to revolutionise the prevention of HIV in the country.
The drug Truvada, which is administered in the form of a pill, was approved for use in November with the official announcement made on Tuesday.
Speaking to News24 about the drug, Department of Health Deputy Director General of HIV, TB and Women and Child Health, Dr Yogan Pillay said it was already used in combination with other medication for treatment of HIV, but has now been approved for use as prevention.
The drug which prevents HIV, works up to 100% of the time if taken daily.
“We will be using this drug to target specifically high risk individuals such as sex workers, men who have sex with men as well as young girls and women aged between 15 and 24 years old,” Pillay said.
According to Pillay, the department would now be tasked to “understand and look at the operational issues” with administering Truvada.
“We will need to now take time to understand how to introduce it to the public, how to implement it into our current healthcare system. There are a number of issues to consider including how this will impact our current health system, the cost of the drug, and a number of other implications.”
Pillay added: “Once we have reviewed all of these steps, I will make a proposal for the minister and consider how we will roll this out.”
When asked of his personal opinion of Truvada, Pillay said it had to be used judicially.
“The drug works. But you have to take it consistently. We have to ensure people understand this.”