New study to tackle HIV/AIDS
PROUD: El Halabi

Botswana Harvard Aids Institute Partnership (BHP) on Tuesday officially launched an Antibody Mediated Prevention (AMP) Study with the idea of giving people antibodies that fight HIV to see if they will protect them from HIV infection.

The study which started in July 2016 has enrolled thirty women and none of them have shown any side effects nor opted out of the study.

The first volunteers were enrolled in August 2016.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) Shenaaz El Halabi noted that the study is being conducted amongst population groups who have the highest risk of HIV acquisition.

“In Sub Saharan Africa including in Botswana HIV incidence is increasing among young females. There are estimated 15 000 new infections per year in Botswana with an HIV prevalence of 6 % among 15 to 24-year-old females.

From Sub Saharan Africa the study will enroll 1500 women from Botswana, South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Each volunteer will receive 10 infusions over 2 years.

The study which will take 5 years is targeting 18 to 40-year-old HIV negative women who are at highest risk who have had vaginal or anal intercourse with a male partner in the past 6 months and there should be consistent use of effective contraception and the females on the study should not be planning to have babies.

The study, according to BHP Principal Investigator Dr Joseph Makhema, will cost half a million US dollars which is P25 million .

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