Analysis: How well did SAHPRA do in 2022?

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority has often made the headlines in recent years – be it in relation to COVID-19 vaccines, access to ivermectin, the approval of an HIV prevention injection, or most recently the clearing of inherited backlogs. Catherine Tomlinson assesses the state of South Africa’s medicines regulator as 2022 draws to a close.

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Editorial: World AIDS Day 2022 – Choice, convenience, and respect should be the cornerstone of SA’s HIV response

In Spotlight’s analysis of South Africa’s HIV response in recent years, two issues have stood out consistently – still too many people living with HIV are not taking antiretroviral therapy and the rate of new HIV infections in South Africa is not coming down fast enough. Accordingly, argues Spotlight editor Marcus Low, we must accelerate the shift toward an HIV response where we make testing for HIV and taking antiretroviral treatment as convenient as possible.

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Pilot projects set to inform rollout of HIV prevention shot

South Africa is expected to begin piloting the HIV prevention injection early next year as one of several projects that experts hope will reveal the answers to some of the biggest questions about the future of the shot – who will deliver the injection, where, and how to sell people on the idea that just six shots a year could protect them from HIV. Laura Lopez Gonzalez reports.

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SA expected to begin piloting HIV prevention shot in early 2023

South Africa is expected to begin piloting the every-other-month HIV prevention shot early next year, according to the international medicine financing initiative Unitaid. New modelling shows that the injection could prevent as many as 52 000 new HIV infections in the next two decades. But to be cost-effective in South Africa, the research argues, the price of the injection must fall to levels drugmaker ViiV Healthcare says are unrealistic. Laura Lopez Gonzalez reports.

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INTERVIEW: Prof Wendy Stevens on following the science, even if it means swimming against the stream

Professor Wendy Stevens believes ‘completely in the honesty of science’ and this, she says, has landed her in the naughty corner many times throughout her career. Biénne Huisman spoke to Stevens – a global leader in HIV and TB laboratory medicine about her career, what you choose when science and politics collide, and the value of swimming upstream.

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Rural Doctor of the Year: Craig Parker – the doctor-engineer who created a COVID lifeline for rural areas

A trained engineer and medical doctor, Dr Craig Parker created an oxygen device that was an important lifeline to patients in rural Eastern Cape at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month at the Rural Health Conference in Oudtshoorn, Parker received the Rural Doctor of the Year Award for 2022. Bienne Huisman chatted to Parker about the device and his life as a rural doctor.

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