Kenya Wins Accolades for Effective HIV Fight

25 October 2018

Kenya's HIV prevention strategies are among the best and most workable in Africa, a global forum says.

Speaking yesterday at the third International HIV Research for Prevention Conference in Madrid, Spain, various experts gave presentations on the performance of selected countries.

Dr Linda Gail Bekker of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation in Cape Town, and immediate president of the International Aids Society, said Kenya's response to HIV prevention should be supported.

MAPPING

"Kenya's response and approach to HIV prevention is the best in Africa. It is the first on the continent to put its prevention road map together, which is something we can't fail to mention," Dr Bekker said.

She said that despite resource constraints, Kenya had ensured that pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs were available.

"There is a lot we can learn from Kenya. It has taken the hotspot mapping approach to ensure that those who need the drugs are not left out," she said.

TREATMENT

Kenya is the second African country, after South Africa, to have pre-exposure prophylaxis guidelines.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drugs join other prevention and treatment methods already in use. Other strategies include giving anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs to people who are not infected with HIV, but are at high risk of infection. These drugs reduce the chances of HIV infection.

APPROVED

In 2014, the World Health Organisation recommended offering PrEP to men who have sex with men, and in September broadened its recommendation to include all people at substantial risk of HIV infection as an additional prevention choice.

PrEP was first approved by the USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012 before other countries followed suit.

The Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board approved use of oral PreP in December 2015.

INFECTIONS

In April last year, oral PrEP, the anti-retroviral drug Truvada, which is a combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine, was approved by the drug regulatory authority for use in the country.

When taken daily and consistently, the drug reduces new infections by 95 per cent.

According to data from PrEP Watch, the number of PrEP users in Kenya stands at 26,000 against 37,000, which is the overall target from all projects (planned and ongoing) being carried out in the country.

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