Kenyan Government to distribute ARVs to HIV-negative population

The drug, known as Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) will be given to those at high risk of contracting the virus before being made accessible to the rest of the population.

 

The drugs will be free in all public facilities but those seek treatment in private health facilities will have to purchase the drugs for between Sh6,120-10,200 annually.

Most people at risk

According to Dr. Martin Sirengo, the head of National AIDS & STI Control Programme (NASCOP) said PrEP is an anti-retroviral drug taken daily by HIV negative people most at risk of HIV infection to reduce their chances of becoming infected.

“The beauty with PrEP is that it is highly effective and will be given to those that are at risk of contracting HIV.

This could include discordant couples where one partner is HIV positive and another is HIV negative; people who frequently contract STIs; individuals who are unable to negotiate condom use; people who frequently use Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) and also drug users who share syringes,” he said.

Usage

He added that if used consistently, it can significantly reduce the risk of getting HIV from unprotected sex.

"It is more effective when used with condoms, safer sex practices and other HIV prevention methods, but it is not a vaccine," Sirengo said.

For suitability to use the drugs, Kenyans will also be tested for the proper functioning of their liver and kidney.

"The drug will be used the same way one takes malaria pills when visiting prone areas to prevent the occurrence of the disease," Sirengo said.

He said that the drug coats human being's cells and prevents the HIV virus from attaching to the cells, thus being able to fight off the HIV virus.

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