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Pre-exposure Prophylaxis in Sub-Sahara Setting, Is it a Priority?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at substantial risk of getting it to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. The pill (brand name Truvada) contains two medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine) that are used in combination with other medicines to treat HIV. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection. 

When taken consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by up to 92%. PrEP is much less effective if it is not taken consistently.

It is my considered view that introduction of PrEP in the prevention guidelines for developing countries in Sub-Sahara for HIV negative at risk individuals is ill-timed and a drain on the meagre resources meant for people infected and requiring the life saving medicines. Sub-sahara has the highest poverty levels with some countries having people living on less than one dollar per day, investment on education is very low and agriculture support is extremely poor; therefore the countries in this region cannot afford such an investment when they have not met the required baseline for putting the those in need of the life saving medicines on treatment.

My thoughts !!?

– Brig Gen Dr Lawson F Simapuka

Assistant Professor Public Health

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