New ARVs for man with boobs

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

A Mpumalanga hospital has changed the type of antiretroviral drugs which allegedly made a man develop breasts.

Sowetan reported last week that Sabelo Maepa (not his real name), 42, of Sakhile township in Standerton developed breasts after he took antiretroviral drugs which he said did not suit him.

The biological terms for the man's condition is gynecomastia (development of breasts in men).

A doctor at Standerton Hospital where Maepa was admitted initially said Maepa, who is also on TB medication, was taking a drug called Stavudine when he developed breasts.

Stavudine was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for adult use in June 1994. It was also approved for pediatric use in 1996, and again as an extended-release version for once-a-day dosing in 2001.

It is the fourth antiretroviral drug on the market and its patent will expire in the US on June 25 next year, according to Aids InfoNet

Another Standerton hospital doctor, who did not want to be named, said: "Stavudine had an adverse impact on Maepa and he will now be given another drug called Zidovudine."

Zidovudine was the first drug approved for the treatment of HIV. It is a nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitor, or nuke, according to The Body, a comprehensive website featuring in-depth information on topics ranging from HIV prevention to state-of-the-art treatment issues.

The Body states that these drugs block the reverse transcriptase enzyme. This enzyme changes HIV's genetic material into a form of DNA.

This has to occur before HIV's genetic code gets inserted into an infected cell's own genetic codes.

A source said Standerton Hospital last week referred Maepa back to the wellness clinic in Standerton for examination.

The results of his examination were not immediately available.

"Maepa has been booked for surgery on November 21 at a Johannesburg hospital.

"No cost implication has been attached as he is a public patient.

"The cost will be carried by government," he said.

Mpho Gabashane, Mpumalanga health department said he was not aware of any development in Maepa case.