The government of Kenya has rolled out a new HIV prevention drug dubbed PRep, which will be used by individuals to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Kenya has been the site of trials and demonstration projects of daily oral PrEP in serodiscordant couples, heterosexual women, men who have sex with men and sex workers. PrEP is slated to be included in the PEPFAR-supported DREAMS initiative focused on young women and adolescent girls.
Kenya’s Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB)—the regulatory body that considers new drugs—approved Truvada TDF/FTC for PrEP for adults at high risk of sexually acquiring HIV-1 infection.
PrEP is incorporated into the Kenyan HIV Prevention Revolution Roadmap and is also identified as an evidence-based intervention in the most recent Kenya National Strategic Framework (KASF). PrEP is also included in the Guidelines on use of ARV drugs for treating and preventing HIV infections in Kenya – 2016 edition.
Civil society and Kenyan researchers have worked in close collaboration to advance PrEP access in country, with dialogues and advocacy among key populations and at the national stakeholder level.
The goal of PrEP is to prevent HIV infection from taking hold if you are exposed to the virus. This is done by taking a pill that contains two HIV medications every day. These are the same medicines used to stop the virus from growing in people who are already infected.” A statement from CDC reads in part.
HOW TO USE THE DRUG
- PreP Drugs are taken by HIV-negative persons in anticipation of an exposure to the virus.
- PreP Drugs are not vaccines against HIV virus. They only protect the users after taking for at least 5 to 7 days prior to the event leading to the exposure of the virus. As opposed to the vaccines that are injected once and provide protection for a longer period without any further injections, PreP only work for users that use the consistently before the exposure.
- PrePs are not to be used by anyone. CDC indicates that it is a drug that is meant for protecting only the users considered vulnerable.• It is only used before exposure event. Contrary to the Post Exposure Prophylaxis that is used by the victims who have been exposed to the event, the PrePs are used prior and not after the event that is deemed risky.
- It used together with condoms. NASCOP indicates that PrePs only suppress the strength of HIV virus and has 92% success rate in lowering infection risk. But it does not provide protection against other venereal diseases like chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis.
The Unknown about the PreP drugs• The research studies are yet to clarify as to whether the prolonged use of the PrePs would have adverse health problems.
- The health facilities that will be distributing the drugs have not been revealed properly and the criteria for identifying those who are eligible for the drugs.
- Kenyans are yet to know whether the PreP drugs will affordable to the low-income earners or not.