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Making HIV Treatment Palatable for Kids

Aid agencies say that a low cost strawberry-flavoured tablet for children living with HIV will be rolled out in African countries next year. It is to be the first generic paediatric version of a key anti-retroviral therapy which will even be available for babies. The UN estimates that more than 1.5 million children around the world live with HIV but says only half receive any treatment. One thing that’s made it difficult for young children to take their anti-retroviral medication has been the bitter taste of the pills. Health experts say the flavoured tablet will be given in doses that are suitable for children living with HIV. That means no more crushing up of adult-sized tablets. Another problem has been the cost – despite some significant progress in recent years. In a few months’ time children in Benin, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Zimbabwe will receive the new tablets. But instead of nearly $500 a year, this new treatment will cost $120.