Anova supports the scale-up and provision of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as a highly effective and evidence-based HIV prevention strategy.
PrEP involves the daily use of a single tablet containing two antiretroviral medications to reduce the risk of infection in people who are HIV-negative and may be exposed to the virus.
PrEP has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of HIV infection in sexually active adolescents, adults and individuals who use drugs. The efficacy of PrEP depends on correct use (daily pill taking) of the intervention and can provide up to 99% protection. Unfortunately, PrEP is ineffective in preventing STIs, other than HIV. The best level of sexual protection is obtained from the use of condoms (for STI prevention) together with PrEP (for HIV prevention).
PrEP does not provide immediate protection from HIV as it takes time to build up sufficient levels in the body. It takes seven days of dosing to prevent the anal acquisition of HIV and up to 20 days to prevent a vaginal acquisition of the virus. It does not need to be taken lifelong but is designed to be used during risky life periods when there is potential for HIV exposure to occur.
Anova supports PrEP in the following ways:
- Operation of the South African PrEP Demonstration Project for MSM which informed future scale-up activities regarding PrEP
- Contribution of technical assistance to the National Department of Health in formulating its PrEP policy, guidelines and scale-up plans
- Contribution to the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society Guidelines on the safe use of PrEP
- Provision of PrEP training in both the private and state healthcare sectors to facilitate the roll out of PrEP
- Provision of PrEP as part of the National Department of Health’s MSM PrEP scale-up process
- Engagement with communities to provide education about PrEP and create demand for services among those who stand to benefit most