#InTheSpotlight | HIV prevention injections exist, but hardly anyone can get them

HIV prevention injections have been registered for use in South Africa, but their high price and limited supply means that for the next few years, while awaiting more affordable generics, very few people will be able to get the jabs. In this Spotlight special briefing, Catherine Tomlinson looks at the difficult choices facing the country if we want to offer the injection to more people more quickly. The calls we make could have global implications.

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SA company set to manufacture HIV prevention ring

A company headquartered in Johannesburg will start making flexible silicone rings to protect women from HIV. The move signals a strong vote of confidence in an African firm to supply the ring at adequate scale and affordable prices, and a crucial step to making the continent self-reliant, reports Catherine Tomlinson.

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Opinion: SA can’t afford proposed cuts to HIV funding

National Treasury has proposed a R1 billion cut to HIV funding. This has come about because – rather than seeing the reduced price of antiretroviral treatment as an opportunity to scale up treatment coverage and strengthen other interventions to address the HIV epidemic – the Department of Health has seen it as an opportunity for cost-containment. However, the HIV epidemic is not over and savings owing to cost reductions should not simply be returned to Treasury, argue Matshidiso Lencoasa and Mila Harding.

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In-depth: How do long-acting HIV treatments work?

Researchers have been trying to develop antiretroviral medicines that can last for weeks, months or even years per dose. Two such long-acting formulations have been approved in South Africa, but several more are on the horizon. Elri Voigt explores the science behind what makes a formulation long-acting and takes a look at some particularly exciting prospects.

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Free State bottom of the list when it comes to multi-month dispensing of ARVs, survey finds

The latest report published by community-led clinic monitoring group Ritshidze shows that the Free State is the worst-performing province in South Africa when it comes to giving people enough antiretrovirals to last several months at a time. This means people living with HIV in the province have to go collect their medicines more frequently than people in other provinces. Refilwe Mochoari reports.

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In-depth: The court ruling that gives qualifying pharmacists the green light to provide HIV and TB meds without a script

Specially trained and accredited pharmacists in South Africa will now be allowed to dispense medicines to prevent HIV and TB and to treat uncomplicated HIV without a doctor’s script. This is because the North Gauteng High Court this week ruled against an application by a private doctors’ association attempting to block the initiative. Catherine Tomlinson unpacks the judgment and rounds up some responses.

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Opinion: HIV investments remain no-brainers, but some things need to change

HIV in South Africa is not the crisis it was 20 years ago, and the country faces a growing burden of non-communicable diseases, but specific investments in HIV nevertheless continue to offer excellent value for money for governments and donors alike. As people gather for the 2023 International AIDS Society Conference in Brisbane, Australia, Marcus Low argues that while funding for HIV interventions remains absolutely essential, it is also critical for the future of the HIV response and people living with HIV that HIV should now be better integrated with other healthcare services, especially those for diabetes and hypertension.

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