Malawi to start distributing new ARVs by July

Government will start distributing the new Tenafovir based HIV treatment regime by July replacing Staduvidine based therapy that is currently used.

Ministry of Health Public Relations Officer Henry Chimbali said the current HIV treatment regime will be completely phased out by 1 July and everyone who is using it will start using the new drug.

“Government will start distributing new Tenafovir based ARV by 1 July this year and all the Staduvidine based drugs will be completely phased out,” he said.

According to Chimbali one of the advantages of the new combination drug regime over the current one is that it is user friendly and for the first time HIV positive people will be taking one pill per day unlike in the current treatment where they take the drug twice a day.

Chimbali: New ARVs in July
Chimbali: New ARVs in July

“The new drug is user friendly because it is taken only once a day hence it will reduce the risk of patients not complying with the treatment dosage.

“Government have confidence that the introduction of the fixed-dose combination will have great impact in improving the management and treatment of HIV,” He said.

Government began phasing out from a Stavudine to a Tenofovir-based drug regimen, prioritizing pregnant and breastfeeding women and patients experiencing severe side effects from Stavudine.

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 Organization (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.

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