The National Aids Commission (Nac) says it will institute scientific research on the reported cases of men developing breasts in the eastern district of Mangochi due to the highly rated new regimen of life prolonging Anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs.
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 it was revealed that about 20 men have developed female-like breasts as result of new ARV regimen side effects. The cases have been reported in the district of Mangochi and the issue has also been reported in Machinga district.
NAC board Chairperson, Marah Kubweza-Banda said the Commission would institute scientific research to establish if indeed the new ARV regimen was behind the developing of breasts in men.
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.