An executive director of a local collaborative research programme between the University of Zimbabwe and the University of California, San Francisco (UZ-UCSF), Dr Mike Chirenje, says the approval of a drug called Truvada as an HIV preventive measure is a milestone in the 30-year battle against the virus that causes AIDS.
The drug has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration organisation as an HIV and AIDS preventive measure.
Dr Chirenje said the use of Truvada as a preventive intervention for people who are at high risk of acquiring HIV, such as those who have HIV-infected partners, will go a long way in reducing the number of new infections.
He said Zimbabwe has a significant number of discordant couples and the use of Truvada will ensure that the negative partner does not contract the HI virus.
The Truvada pill has been on the market since 2004 as a treatment for people who are already infected with the virus.
Starting in 2010, studies showed that the drug could actually prevent people from contracting HIV when used as a precautionary measure.
A three-year study found that daily doses cut the risk of infection in healthy people.
Last year another study found that Truvada reduced infection by 75 percent among couples in which one partner was infected with HIV and the other was not.
In Zimbabwe, about 510 thousand people are currently getting arv’s under the national program with over three hundred thousand on the waiting list.
Observers have however lamented the slow adoption of treatment technologies in the country saying relevant authorities must ensure that people at risk have access to the pill without any delays.