By Spy Uganda
Kampala: It is a moment of relief for Ugandans with HIV/AIDs after Ugandan scientists announced that they have kicked a trial for the injectable HIV drugs ”Cabotegravir and Rilpivirine”. These drugs once approved will end pill fatigue, fight stigma, improve adherence and ensure patients get the right dosage.
While the two injectables already went through trials in Europe and North America, this will be the first time they are tested in an African population for efficacy and safety in an African health care system.
Uganda is one of three African countries, along with Kenya and South Africa, which got approval from the WHO to carry out the trials. However, Kenya and South Africa have yet to acquire approvals to start their trials, expected by the end of the year.
Uganda and Kenya will both have three trial sites and there will be two in South Africa, with a total of 512 participants — 202 from Uganda, 160 from Kenya and 150 from South Africa.
Dr. Ivan Mambule, the lead project researcher at the Joint Clinical Research Center, says participants will need one injection every two months.
“We are going to choose participants who are already on ART [antiretroviral treatment] and are stable on ART. And we will randomize them to either continue on their normal treatment, which is the pill that they’ve been taking or to switch them to this injectable,” he expressed.
According to the Uganda Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment (UPHIA), a household-based national survey of 2016, the prevalence of HIV among adults aged 15 to 64 is 6.2%: 7.6% among females and 4.7% among males. This corresponds to approximately 1.2 million people aged 15 to 64 living with HIV in Uganda.
The survey also found that HIV prevalence is higher among women living in urban areas (9.8%) than those in rural areas (6.7%).