Kenya: Researchers raise red flag on key HIV prescription drug

Researchers have linked a popular HIV Aids drug currently in use among Kenyan patients to kidney damage. Tenofovir, commonly referred to as TR, is one of the most widely used antiretroviral (ARV) medication in Kenya. It is also a component of Truvada, a recently introduced daily pill for HIV prevention in Kenya.

A team from Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and Moi University School of Medicine on Friday presented evidence suggesting the drug can cause serious kidney complications in patients.

The researchers now want further evaluation to map out the magnitude of the problem among an estimated 900,000 HIV patients currently on ARVs, even as the Ministry of Health insists the drug's side effects are "mild". Doctors say Tenofovir's popularity is hinged on its ease of use as a single daily pill. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends it for first line management of HIV/Aids in adults, adolescents, as well as children.
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