The highly rated new regimen of life prolonging Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs in Malawi has started showing its side effects with men developing breasts in the eastern district of Mangochi.
Malawi switched from the old Stavudine (D4 T) based ARVs to the new WHO recommended Tenofovir based regimen 5A last year, which was hailed to have had lesser side effects.
But a study by a Canadian organisation Dignitas International in the eastern region, revealed over 20 cases of men who have developed female-like breasts as result of new ARV regimen side effects.
The cases have been recorded in the district of Mangochi and the issue has also been reported in Machinga district.
Dignitas International District Coordinator for Mangochi, Christopher Kandionamaso said they have received 20 cases of men developing breasts due to the effects of the new ARV regimen.
“We are currently compiling a comprehensive report on all cases reported. The cases where unearthed during our line work which deals with people living with HIV and Aids,” said Kandionamaso..
District Health Officer for Mangochi, William Peno and National Aids Commission (Nac) board member, Marah Kubweza-Banda said there would be independent investigations to establish the truth about the issue.
“This is strange because the new regimen is regarded to be more effective than the previous one. We are yet to fund out more and ensure something is done about it,” said Peno.
The phased out regimen 1A had many side effects like hump back, central obesity, inflammatory pancreas and mixed up body salts among others.
In July 2012, the Malawi Government signed a MK 64. 7 billion HIV grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria to complete the drug transition for all Malawians beginning in mid-2013.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and government recommend Tenafovir-based regiment in HIV management because it is more efficient and has reduced side effects.
WHO guidelines for treatment of HIV infection in adults and adolescents were changed in 2009 as a way of improving treatment effectiveness and reduce risk of toxicities for individuals residing
in resource-limited and highly affected regions including Malawi.
Ministry of Health last year described the new ARV regimen as friendly with people taking one pill per day unlike in the old treatment where they take the drug twice a day.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :