Zimbabwe approves long-acting HIV prevention drug

Shingai Nyoka - BBC News, Harare

Zimbabwe has become the first county in Africa to approve a long-acting injectable drug that prevents HIV transmission.

The first two injections of Cabotegraviror CAB-LA are administered four weeks apart, followed by an injection every eight weeks.

The drug has received regulatory approval in two other countries, the US and Australia.

Zimbabwe will begin rolling out the drug after regulators approved its use. The authorities say it will provide a crucial layer of protection for risk groups.

Large scale studies of the drug showed 79% reduction in HIV risk compared with oral pre-exposure prophylaxis, according to the World Health Organisation.

Zimbabwe approved a long-acting HIV preventative vaginal ring earlier this year.

While African countries have dramatically reduced the number of new HIV infections, adolescent girls and young women remain at risk accounting for 63% of new infections last year.

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