The Treatment Action Campaign is calling for the phase out of Stavudine (D4T) as a first line treatment in the public health care sector. On 25th November 2012,  TAC General Secretary Vuyiseka Dubula and Dr Eric Goemaere ( MSF)  will be debating with the former head of the South African clinicians society why we do not need  D4T . The TAC members and patients will hold a demonstration outside the Cape Town International during the D4T debate at the Clinician Society Conference.

D4T was previously one of three antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) recommended as first-line treatment for HIV positive patience. In 2010 World Health Organisation (WHO) changed the HIV treatment guidelines for poor countries and recommended switching from Stavudine (D4T) to Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate (TDF) for all patients for first line treatment.This was due to serious side effects such as lipodystrophy and lactic acidosis, seen in many studies and treatment programmes, led to calls to use better, less toxic drugs.

Although the Department of Health has made efforts to switch people from D4T to Tenofovir, the process seems to be moving slow, as some public health care facilities are still giving patients D4T.TDF is more expensive than D4T and the WHO guidelines do recognise the cost differences between the two drugs. Price should not the only deciding factor when it comes to medicines. Furthermore, D4T has been practically abandoned in rich countries because it is too toxic.

Even though changing to TDF costs more, the outcomes for people living with HIV on TDF are good and the drug is better tolerated with fewer side effects than those who are kept on d4T.  The Department of Health must give an indication of when D4T will be completely phased out.

The media is invited to the picket that will be taking place as follows:

Venue: Cape International Convention Centre

Date: 25 November 2012

Time: 14:00

For comments and more information please contact:

Sibongile Nkosi          

083 621 7875

Vuyiseka Dubula

082 763 3005

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