By Lumbiwe Mwanza
African Young Positive Network (AY+), West Africa board member Aaron Sunday says ministries of health across the African continent should strengthen awareness messages on the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in order to attain the goal of preventing the acquisition of HIV infection by uninfected persons.
PrEP is a once a day pill for people who are at high risk for HIV, it helps to lower their chances of getting infected.
Mr. Sunday explains that the fight against the HIV pandemic calls for improved preventive mechanisms and enhanced access to information.
“it is important that information regarding PrEP should be made available if people are to utilize this preventive intervention” Mr. Sunday said.
He observes that some key populations are still ignorant about the drug hence the need to strengthen awareness messages on who can take the drug, and how it should be taken.
He adds that strengthening community engagement programs and utilizing social media to engage with the young people who are mostly vulnerable to this scourge remains critical.
“many young people nowadays are found of social media, so if African governments utilize such platforms to educate and inform the young people on the HIV preventive mechanisms, attaining the 90-90-90 targets by 2020 is guaranteed” mr Sunday said.
The 90–90–90 – An ambitious treatment target to help end the AIDS epidemic. It entails that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status. By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of people on treatment will have suppressed viral loads.
Mr. Sunday further urged young people to join the HIV advocacy network as they represent a growing share of people living with HIV.
“Young people should take lead in the fight against HIV, they need to be participating in advocacy work and promote innovations that can help end HIV transmissions” mr Sunday said.