Wits University hails breakthrough for HIV prevention as historic

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Wits University has announced a major breakthrough in HIV prevention. Women will soon be able to take one injection with an anti-retroviral every eight weeks to prevent HIV infection, according to the result of a study conducted by the University.

The study was conducted on over 3 000 HIV negative women in seven countries in Africa over a 48-week period.  The initial results from clinical trials were released by the HIV Prevention Trials Network.

In the video below, Wits University announced the breakthrough in HIV prevention on Monday:

About 240 000 young women aged 15 to 24 are infected with HIV each year in South Africa our country.

The HIV drug study has shown that a long-acting injection is more effective than the current daily anti-retroviral pills to prevent HIV in women.

The trial, known as the H.P.T.N. 084 trial, was headed by Dr Sinead Delany Moretlwe. The results are seen as incredibly important for women, specifically on the continent.

Physician-scientist, Professor Linda-Gail Bekker speaks about the study:

HIV, TB services interruption could see massive deaths

Last month, the UN agency for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) said COVID-19 could lead to the deaths of half a million HIV-positive people in Sub-Saharan Africa if an interruption to HIV and TB services continue.

UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Shannon Harder says, “Modelling that WHO and UNAIDS did projects that a six-month interruption of HIV treatment alone in sub-Saharan Africa could lead to massive loss of lives, 500 000 additional deaths this year alone bringing us to 2008 death levels. This could mean losing a decade of progress in just one year.”

She said in the past 10 years they’ve made great progress in reducing the impact of TB on people living with HIV, even though TB remains the leading cause of death among people living with HIV.

“We had about 208 000 deaths among people living with HIV from TB in 2019 – that’s 33% of all AIDS deaths. The good news is this is down from over 570 000 deaths in 2010. TB used to cause nearly half of all AIDS-related deaths – that’s a 63% reduction in deaths from TB since 2010 but even with that, we are not doing enough and properly treat active TB among people living with HIV, with half of HIV/TB cases still being missed this year.”

More studies are expected to take place before the regiment is made available to the public.