A large chunk of our reporting focuses on HIV. Since the launch of Bhekisisa in 2013, we’ve covered HIV in-depth — from the impact of the virus on former president Nelson Mandela’s family to the advances in antiretroviral treatment and anti-HIV pills and injections. We’ve also looked at the impact of inequality and discrimination on the spread of HIV, the link between gender-based violence and HIV — and ways to fix it.
Long acting cabotegravir (CAB-LA) is a two-monthly jab that can prevent HIV infections through sex. It virtually nullifies people’s chances of contracting the virus and it’s more effective than the daily prevention pill that’s currently available in South Africa.
Who is this injection for? Anyone who’s worried about contracting HIV. But young African women (among whom new infections are highest) stand to benefit the most because the jab eliminates the stress of taking a pill every day.
For this World Aids Day edition of Bhekisisa’s television show Health Beat, we speak to CAB-LA’s manufacturer (ViiV Healthcare), the scientists who’ve been testing it and the first women in the country to use the jab.
As an SABC TV reporter in the Mandela years, Jessica Pitchford covered news events during one of the most exciting periods of South Africa’s history. She’s worked as a documentary producer for Special Assignment, story editor for current affairs shows Carte Blanche & Checkpoint, as head researcher for Netflix production ‘Senzo’ and has written five non-fiction books.
Mia Malan is the founder and editor-in-chief of Bhekisisa. She has worked in newsrooms in Johannesburg, Nairobi and Washington, DC, winning more than 30 awards for her radio, print and television work.