CONSUMER Advocacy Forum’s (CAF) official, Tonderai Chiduku has urged HIV/AIDS patients to embrace the Dolutegravir (DTG) drug in order to effectively treat infections with lesser side effects.
Chiduku made the remarks soon after the forum’s meeting recently where he emphasised the effectiveness of the new drug.
“DTG is a safe and effective drug for rapid viral suppression and has fewer side effects, drug interactions which was introduced last year.Clients on treatment have since confirmed viral suppression in the last 12 months,” he said.
He said CAF has been working flat out to raise awareness on the new drug through international and nationwide campaigns.
“We were involved in the rollout of the dissemination in line with the Alma Ata Declaration (1978) Ouagadougou Declaration on Primary Health Care and Health Systems in Africa. We have been raising awareness about the new medicine at all levels within our communities,” Chiduku said.
He warned HIV/AIDS patients who default once they are feeling well and urged them to adhere to treatment as advised by health care givers.
He said the new drug is part of a fixed dose combination of Tenofovir (TDF)+Lamivudine(3TC)+Dolutegravir(DTG), commonly known as TLD for first line treatment of HIV.
According to UN AIDS 1,3 million people were living with HIV in 2018 while the number of new HIV infections among the uninfected population over one year among people of all ages was 2.79 .
The percentage of people living with HIV among adults (15–49 years) was 12.7% while 38 000 people were newly infected with HIV and 22 000 people died from an AIDS-related illness.
CAF is a project being run under Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV (ZNNP+) – an umbrella body of support groups, organisations and networks of people living with HIV (PLHIV).
ZNNP+ was established in 1992 and registered as a PVO in 1999. It is one of the first networks of PLHIV. It gave birth to the established of other networks within the region and continent.