LUSIKISIKI. - All twelve clinics in the Qaukeni sub-district in the Eastern Cape are dispensing the new fixed dose combination pill (FDC) to HIV patients. This new pill is a triple antiretroviral that is believed to improve adherence as it only needs to be taken once a day. The fact that ARV treatment now consist of just one tablet will make it easier to dispense and prescribe, and make ordering and monitoring stock supply easier for clinics and depots.
So far about eleven people in the region were started on FDC - five of which are pregnant women and the other six newly initiated ARV patients.
A 17-year-old grade 11 student at Mgezwa Secondary School was among the first people in the region to be initiated onto the pill. “It is easy to swallow with minor side effects. I used to see my mother taking six ARV tablets a day but with me it is different,” he said.
“There is no way that I will default my treatment instead the pill will improve my adherence. There is no stigma attached to it. I thank the TAC (Treatment Action Campaign) for campaigning tirelessy for the pill. The organisation has to remain vigilant and vibrant in advocating for better access to comprehensive health care services for all.”
TAC branches in the region has have been educating communities on the new FDC pill. - OurHealth/Health-e News Service
Tandeka Vinjwa-Hlongwane is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from Lusikisiki in the OR Tambo district in the Eastern Cape