By Scoop Reporter
Zambia has been picked as one of the five countries in the world by the United States Government to be supported with procurement of a long acting injectable ARV called cabotegravir (CAB-LA) this year.
Speaking on the side-lines of the US government led Country Operating Planning for 2023/24 (COP 23) Meeting in South Africa, Ministry of Health Director for Infectious Diseases and Acting Director General for the National AIDS Council Professor Lloyd Mulenga says Zambia will this year receive this long-acting ARV which is a new injectable ARV offered for prevention of HIV among people at high risk of acquiring HIV. This method of preventing HIV is called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV.
Prof. Mulenga says it is a safe and highly effective prevention option for people at substantial risk of HIV infection.
He says the World Health Organization approved this ARV injection last year in 2022 and pledged to support countries as they plan for CAB-LA introduction as part of a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention and will facilitate urgently needed operational research.
“What has been lacking has been financial resources to secure these drugs which are given as an injection every two months. Therefore, with the support from the US Government to procure these medicines for the Zambian people, this will help a lot of people in the country,” Prof Mulenga says.
Prof Mulenga says the Ministry of health is doing everything possible to ensure that less cases of HIV infections are recorded through various interventions adding that the fight is the biggest challenge which the country faces and is sustained by Zambian Government, together with stakeholders such as the US Government through PEPFAR and the Global Fund.
He further says these key players have been supporting the procurement of ARV drugs in Zambia.
Zambia has been experiencing high number of new HIV infections especially in the young people under the age of 24.