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NZAF welcomes funding of Kivexa

MEDIA RELEASE: December 21, 2006

NZAF welcomes funding of Kivexa

The New Zealand AIDS Foundation today welcomed PHARMAC’s decision to fund Kivexa, another weapon in the arsenal of anti-retroviral treatments which work to slow the growth of HIV within the bodies of HIV-positive people.

Kivexa combines two existing HIV medications into a single tablet, which will help to ease the pill burden of patients. “One of the difficulties HIV-positive people face in adhering to medication regimes is the large number of pills they must take,” says NZAF National Positive Health Manager Eamonn Smythe. “Even missing one dose can allow resistance to develop, so reducing the number of pills will be a great help for patients.”

As with other HIV medications within this class, side effects of Kivexa can include headaches, nausea, tiredness and diarrhoea, mouth ulcers, rashes, fever, a sore or swollen tongue, and a brief rise in liver enzymes. “NZAF welcomes PHARMAC’s commitment to the funding of antiretroviral medications for HIV this year, and we hope this will continue into 2007,” Smythe says.

While the availability of new medications helps to improve the quality of life for the estimated 1,800 people in New Zealand who live with HIV, Smythe adds it would be mistake for HIV-negative people to assume this makes the virus less of a threat.

“Treatments for HIV are the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, and improvements to treatments basically amount to a more comfortable ambulance. It's better not to fall off the cliff in the first place - prevention is still the best weapon we have against HIV."

ENDS

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