ZIMBABWE is set to introduce the dual prevention pill, which combines HIV and pregnancy prevention, as it seeks to reduce the pill burden in women’s contraceptives.
Other biomedical HIV prevention tools, such as the Dapivirine Vaginal ring and the Long-Acting Injectable PrEP, have also been approved for use in the country.
However, roll out of these products has yet to commence.
The dual prevention pill is one of several multipurpose prevention technologies being developed in the pipeline, aiming to address the dual burden of HIV and unmet need for contraception that women often face.
The new package will improve convenience and adherence to these products.
Speaking at the Biomedical HIV Prevention Forum in Harare, Dr Pamela Mukwekwerere from the University of Zimbabwe’s Clinical Trials Research Centre said:
“The package addresses the adherence issue as well as the pill burden women face, and has an alternative between contraceptives, PrEP or PEP and other medications.
“The DPP is currently being developed by public and private initiatives for daily use to prevent both HIV and pregnancy.
“It is one of several multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs) – a single product designed to address multiple health needs – in the pipeline.
“When we talk about Dural Prevention package, this is where we are saying these interventions include HIV prevention as well as STI and pregnancy prevention.
“These are very good options because they are quite convenient for the woman because it’s like a two in one where a woman does not need to take separate products, but it’s all just in one and it improves adherence to the products.”
National Aids Council chief executive officer, Dr Bernard Madzima, said Zimbabwe needs to take a very active role to both prevent new HIV infections in children and keep mothers alive.
“In order to prevent new HIV infections in children, we need to take a very active role on the biomedical HIV prevention tools Zimbabwe has adopted over the past few years.”