South Africa’s medicines regulator has recently approved CAB-LA – an anti-HIV injection – and it has been life-changing for the Cape Town women who have accessed it through clinical trials.
The bimonthly injection almost entirely eliminates people’s chances of contracting HIV through sex. More than 200 women have taken the shot at the Emavundleni Research Centre in Nyanga as a part of the clinical trial.
News24 spoke to three of the 200 women who are part of the trial, understanding why an injection is much easier for people who are HIV-positive than taking pills.
“It can be hard to stick to a daily regimen,” says Amanda Roberts, one of the participants.
“Some days I’m not at home, I’m having fun, and I don’t have my pills on me. I used to think: I’m going to take tablets to a party? No way.”
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Boleka Ntshintshi, another participant, explains: “The injection isn’t only convenient, it’s empowering too. You know men don’t want to use condoms. It isn’t about what your partner says. It’s all about you.”
The injection gives women more authority over their own bodies. As Ntshintshi says, “I’ve regained my dignity. I feel powerful.”
Sinethemba Kolisile, a third participant, explains how the injection has given her peace of mind.
“The times we’re living in are dangerous. There are a lot of rapes. You don’t know whether your rapist is HIV positive.”
All three women are passionate about the injection being made available to everyone. Studies show that it has the ability to prevent up to a quarter of South Africa’s new annual infections (52 000 out of 200 000).
The health department told Bhekisisa that as long as it’s affordable, the injection could be in clinics by August 2023.
To understand more about how CAB-LA works, watch here, or read the full report by Bhekisisa.
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Picture: YouTube / Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism