ISLAMABAD, June 09 (Alliance News): The Sindh government has officially launched Community Based Oral Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PREP), a drug used to prevent HIV.
According to details, the drug is for key populations and sero-discordant couples (in which one spouse is infected with the virus and the other is not infected).
At the launch, Dr. Irshad Kazmi, Deputy Director General, Communicable Diseases Control (CDC) Unit, Sindh Health Department, said that between 2010 and 2020, the number of HIV infections in Pakistan increased by 84%.
“If we do not take bold and risky steps, we will not be able to prevent further infections and PREP is a step in the right direction,” he said.
The CDC has supported the United Nations Joint Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Has launched the drug in partnership with
PREP is an additional option for HIV prevention, community based PEP distribution is very important as community based organizations working in Sindh have outreach programs and they REPs can play an important role in ensuring access to programs.
Dr. Irshad Kazmi emphasized that the PREP has come up with an important strategy for precautionary target prevention programs for key populations.
Formal links have been established between CERO Discardant Couples and Art Centers for PREP in key populations and those promoting the current program.
Under this approach, frontline workers are used to include people at risk of HIV in the program.
Their primary function is to connect community members to public health services, through which they can access HIV prevention programs, now including PREP.
Workers involved in the program disseminate HIV prevention packages, provide safe sex education materials and support behavior change and, most importantly, the community for HIV testing and counseling. ARTs establish links with treatment centers, citing.
Yuki Tekmoto, UNAIDS Country Director for Pakistan and Afghanistan, said the UN system was influenced by the government’s political commitment and concrete steps to meet the needs of communities.
Ensuring a supportive, proactive environment free from discrimination will help achieve the goals of the Sindh AIDS Strategy 2025-2021 and play an effective role in eradicating AIDS for public health by 2030.
Elena Nicolita, UNDP Pakistan’s in-charge officer, said the HIV response in Pakistan needed bold leadership and an evidence-based approach.