South Africa: 7 Controversies Surrounding PrEP

Despite the fact that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is known to provide a high level of protection against HIV infection in those at risk, aspects of its use remain controversial. The continued debates regarding the preventive tool pose challenges for associated scale-up efforts.

One thing is not debatable, however. When drug levels in the blood are high, PrEP offers elevated and consistent protection against HIV.

In a symposium at the 25th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), Linda-Gail Bekker, MBChB, DTMH, DCH, FCP(SA), PhD, from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, highlighted 7 controversies surrounding PrEP and provided conference attendees with enough evidence to separate fact from fiction.

  • Controversy #1: Does PrEP actually work for women from Africa? 
  • Controversy #2: How long does it take before PrEP actually works?
  • Controversy #3: Is PrEP unsafe during pregnancy?
  • Controversy #4: Is PrEP a good option for adolescents?
  • Controversy #5: PrEP is not a medical intervention; it’s a lifestyle choice.
  • Controversy #6: Does PrEP cause STIs
  • Controversy #7: PrEP is unaffordable.

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