Rolls Royce ARV treatment for moms

The long-awaited rollout of single dose ARVs is finally here and this means pregnant women who test positive for HIV will get the gold standard of treatment. All pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers will be given the new FDC, regardless of their CD4 count.  The drug Atroiza (Atripla) will initially only be available to pregnant and lactating mothers and newly diagnosed patients with a CD4 count of less than 350.

What is FDC?

The new fixed-dose combination (FDC) is a single tablet, which contains a combination of all three ARVs - tenofovir (TDF), emtricitabine (FTC) and efavirenz (EFV). This is also called full HAART (Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Treatment, or Triple-Therapy).

The main difference between FDC and the current ARV regimen is that these patients will have to one pill once a day instead of three or more pills multiple times a day. FDC is more convenient, easier to take and with fewer side effects. It also means you will also have less laboratory tests once you are on treatment.

  • Unless there are complications, you will be given the new single dose combination ARV pill on the same day you test HIV positive.
  • The clinic staff will take blood for more laboratory tests but they do not have to wait for these test results before they start you on treatment. You must return after seven days for these results.
  • The one pill that contains a combination of ARVs must be taken once a day.
  • Taking this one combined ARV pill has the same effect as taking three separate ARV pills.
  • This one pill taken once a day by will protect your health and prevent your unborn baby from getting HIV.

So everyone on HIV treatment will eventually be on FDC?

Some people may not be able to take the one combination ARV pill because their condition may be more complicated. People who have failed their first antiretroviral regimen will not be able to take FDCs. In addition, those who have problems with their kidneys or who have severe psychiatric conditions will not able to take the FDC.

Do you think taking this single pill will make life easier for you and encourage more mom's to test?

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