Kenya: Only one in seven offered PrEP in study start it immedietely

Only one in seven people offered PrEP in a community study conducted in Kenya and Uganda started the drug on the day they were offered it. 

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Or PrEP is an anti HIV medication that allows HIV negative people from becoming infected. It was offered with a SEARCH community-randomised study of enhanced HIV testing and treatment to investigate if the number of people diagnosed with HIV would reduce after its introduction.

The study was started in 2015 after recommendations from the WHO that it PrEP should be offered to all populations at risk of HIV. They began by offering PrEP to people who tested HIV negative but were determined to be at a high risk of contracting the disease.

This risk assessment was developed using an algorithm that included factors such as age, gender, marital status, education and whether people had multiple sexual partners.

Presenter of the study James Ayieko said, “It was developed primarily as a research tool to assess HIV infection risk. Rather than set criteria for PrEP. It’s therefore quite conservative and almost designed to minimise the number of people we offer PrEP to, those we do offer it to are genuinely at a very high risk.”

It was also found that only 30 percent of people assessed by the researchers as being at high risk of HIV actually considered themselves at high risk compared to half of those that self referred.

Earlier this year, the Kenyan Government rolled out the new drug targeting distribution towards couples with a HIV positive partner, people with multiple sexual partners, people who have had a sexually transmitted disease, people who inject drugs and sex workers. Read more via The Star