Toxic AIDS drug on way out <LI class=kaziBody><LI class=kaziBody> By MASEMBE TAMBWE, 30th September 2010 TANZANIA has started phasing out use of anti-retroviral for HIV, stavudine, in line with the recommendation by World Health Organisation (WHO), on grounds that the drug is associated with "long-term, irreversible" side effects. Phasing out administration of stavudine has started with HIV-positive pregnant women and children, according to the National Aids Control Programme (NACP) Manager, Dr Roland Swai. Taking into consideration financial implications involved in the exercise, we have chosen this course of action and we will later involve HIV infected TB patients and then the rest," Dr Swai told the 'Daily News' in an interview on Thursday. Dr Swai said stavudine was a commonly used drug but has high levels of toxins. "It is for that reason NACP and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, last year, directed reduction in dosage. Ugandan medical experts have reportedly been issuing warnings against routine use of the drug which has already been banned in most parts of Europe and the Americas. Uganda's acting Director General of Health Services, Dr Kenya Mugisha, said the ministry stopped procuring stavudine, which is also known as zerit or d4T, four years ago when it realised several side effects. The drug is widely used in developing countries as a first-line therapy for HIV because it is easy to use and inexpensive. Serious side effects, however, such as wasting (a loss of body fat known as lipoatrophy), while causing swollen abdomen and shoulders, as well as nerve disorders that lead to numbness and burning pain, are associated with its use. Dr Swai said that the NACP was aware of the side effects since last year and plans were underway to buy better drugs currently available on the market. WHO last November, recommended less toxic alternatives such as zidovudine (AZT) or tenofovir (TDF) which are "equally effective alternatives." In sweeping changes to its guidelines, WHO also recommended that people living with HIV including pregnant women, should start taking AIDS drugs earlier to live a longer and healthier life. For the first time the organisation advised HIV-positive women and their babies to take the drugs while breast-feeding to prevent mother-to-child transmission. There are reports of widespread abuse of ARVs in Mbeya Region and other parts of the country, where the drugs are traded in black markets. In Tanzania, about 2 million people have HIV/AIDS, with the national prevalence of the disease standing at about 5.7 per cent. Globally, an estimated 33.4 million people have HIV/AIDS, according to the WHO, and about 2.7 million new infections occur each year. Among women of reproductive age, HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death. Comment Its with trepadation, to note that, much as we spend a lot of taxpayers monies to train what we think are to be scientists, the resultant has been to produce "half backed, not worth a pinch of salt,academic immitators of scientists".All the time we are being told what to do by the aliens from the western world. We can not do any kind of research of our own, to see the worthiness of these medicines in relation to the ailments targeted. From anti- malaria to god knows what other drugs. Nor do we do toxicological analysis to see the detriments associated with these drugs.At one time the Tetanus vacine was laced with a homone known as "Human Chorionic homonogonodotropine" a natural homone in pregnant mothers, but if the source is synthetic and not natural from the placenta, the fetus then and all other future pregnancies will be aborted. Our scientist did not test the Tetanus vacine and a lot of future Tanzanians did not make it to the oxygenated EARTH..