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Uganda To Start HIV Injectable Treatment In 2023

Government has revealed that people living with HIV/AIDs will have the option of switching to HIV injectable treatment in 2023 if the trials taking place return with approvals for usage of the drug.

The revelation was made by Dr. Nelson Musoba, Director Generalat  Uganda Aids Commission while speaking to journalists at parliament on Wednesday, after interfacing with Parliament’s Presidential Affairs Committee where the Commission officials had come to defend the 2022/2023 National Budget Framework Paper.

Musoba explained that research into HIV/AIDS treatment has come a long way where patients have moved from a place where people used to take several pills a day to one tablet a day as first line, and there is advanced research on the injectable treatment that will be used for treatment of HIV/AIDs that has been approved in some countries.

“Joint Clinical Research Center is now carrying out research on our people and in the next one year, it should be possible for our population to access that. Once you get the injection, you take about two months. It is very convenient, we will be able to deal with issues of stigma and discrimination, you take it in the privacy of your room. You don’t have to be inconvenienced taking daily, so it is a great innovation,” said Musoba.

He however said, the HIV/AIDs patients will be an additional option to either stay on treatment of the current drugs or switch to injectables.

“People will not be necessarily forced to move from tablets to injections, but those who see advantages and like to take it up, it will be an additional to go onto it,” said Musoba.

It should be recalled that in October 2021, reports emerged that Uganda had started a trial for the injectable HIV drugs cabotegravir and rilpivirine, after World Health Organization licensed their use as injectables in 2020.

South Africa and United States of America have approved use of injectables amongst their population. Uganda is one of three African countries, along with Kenya and South Africa, which got approval from the WHO to carry out the trials.

Musoba also urged patients living with HIV not to lose hope about the lengthy time it has taken for the discovery of HIV/AIDs vaccines, saying that although pharmaceutical companies were able to come up with Covid-19 vaccines within a year and both are viruses, the character of HIV/AIDs is different from Covid.

He said, “The scientists are working hard, but the HIV/AIDs virus is complicated, it keeps on changing its mutation from time to time. The Covid virus was easier to detect compared to HIV/AIDS but we are hopeful that the lessons we have learned from Covid virus will be used in the research for HIV/AIDs vaccines.”

In the 2022/2023 national budget, the Uganda Aids Commission has been allocated Shs10.680Bn and of this, Shs1.320Bn will cover wages, while Shs7.510Bn will cover non wage while Shs1.850Bn has been reserved for capital development.

The Commission has however been left to grapple with a funding gap to a tune of Shs10Bn, with some of the unfunded priorities including HIV/AIDs research and advocacy that has a funding gap of Shs3.4Bn.

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