Uganda’s Health Ministry stops use of Septrin in HIV management

Uganda's Health Ministry stops use of Septrin in HIV management
Septrin drugs

Ministry of Health has stopped the compulsory prescription of Septrin to persons living with HIV.

Septrin also known as Cotrimoxazole is an antibiotic drug that is used in HIV management to curb the development of opportunistic infections that might occur. The drug has been compulsory for all persons living with HIV.

According to the ministry, the drug is being suspended for some groups of people because it is useless for persons who have been on treatment for a long time and have suppressed their viral load.

Only selected groups of persons living with HIV will be given the drug. They include pregnant women, new patients and children below 15 years.

During a media breakfast in Kampala on Friday, Dr Joshua Musinguzi, the Programme Manager AIDS Control Programme says that they decided to stop the compulsory use of Septrin drug because they were advised by doctors that it was a waste.

The decision to stop the issuance of Septrin was made by the National AIDS Advisory Committee on Treatment following a meta-analysis of all studies that have been carried out by different researchers on the subject.

According to the health ministry budget, 29 Billion Shillings is spent annually on the procurement of Septrin. Data from Uganda AIDS commission shows that more than 400,000 persons living with HIV will not be affected by the ban.

The move by the Ministry comes following continuous drug stock-outs that have left a number of persons living with HIV stranded.

Dr Musinguzi says that with the new policy, there will no longer be drug stock-outs with the new policy. “We now have enough drugs and since only a selected group of people will be taking the drugs, we shall not run out of drugs,” he said.

Dr Stephen Watiti, an expert on HIV care and treatment welcomed the move.

“It is not good to take drugs when you do not need it and there is evidence that shows that people who have been on treatment for a long time have suppressed viral loads and do not need the treatment.”