By Bathel Shuro
CHINHOYI – ZIMBABWE has become the first African country to approve the use of the new HIV prevention drug, the long-acting version of the antiretroviral drug, Cabotegravir (CAB-LA).
CAB-LA is an intramuscular injection (IM), a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PreP) dose for HIV prevention.
Mashonaland West Provincial Health Officer, Dr George Kambondo, said the drug was only used by HIV- negative people and at the risk of getting HIV infection, thus, pre-exposure prophylaxis.
He added that the injection had been approved at national level and was yet to be rolled out to the provinces to complement the existing PreP methods available.
Preliminary results have shown CAB-LA to be effective than oral as it has better profile, is more efficious and better adherence. However, both CAB-LA and Oral TDF/FCT are highly effective in preventing HIV infection.
There is less need to be reminded, there is reduced number of visits and is discreet, no need to explain to partner.
However, the long-term tail implications are yet to be understood and the use might be challenging when traveling away from usual resupply clinics.
It also requires trained individuals to administer, which is the reason why roll out has not started in Mashonaland West.
Dr Kambondo explained that even the training of health workers had not yet been conducted but national trainings had been done. So, it’s yet to be rolled out.
“Anytime soon, when funds are available trainings in Mashonaland West will commence, but other provinces like Mashonaland Central and Masvingo have trained,” he explained.
The drug is effective when injected after every two months.