Society has seek a long-acting HIV preventive tools over World AIDS Day, The Nation report.
The New HIV Vaccine and Microbicides Advocacy Society (NHVMAS) has called on the Federal Government to integrate the long-acting Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) preventive tools in the national HIV prevention package, to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030,
The advocacy group made this known during its two-day physical training organised for reporters from the print, electronic and online media, to learn about understanding and reporting HIV new preventive tools research.
The group’s Executive Director, Mrs. Florita Durueke, during an interview with The Nation, said the World AIDS Day was a time to reflect as a country.
She said: “What new things are on the table for HIV prevention and how many of them are being integrated in the national prevention package?
“The oral PREP we have, but how accessible is it? How are we expanding the coverage for PREP, so that every person can have access to it, including persons who are at substantial risk of HIV infection? We have new tools that are empowering young women like the PREP ring. How we’re considering its integration in the prevention package; how are we going to fast-track the regulatory approval for PREP and get it integrated? What about the injectable PREP that has already been approved in the US? How are we also looking at the opportunity to incorporate it into our prevention packages? So that is the key message for us at NVHMAS. Let’s expand the options. Basically, the choices, so that everybody’s needs are met.”
Explaining the long-acting HIV prevention tools, Durueke said they were new long-lasting forms of HIV prevention that had been studied by researchers, adding that they required no daily dosing with the oral PrEP.
“Instead, this new PrEP can be inserted (that is, the Dapivirine Vaginal Ring), injected, infused, or implanted in a person’s body from once a month to once a year to provide sustained protection from acquiring HIV.
“Currently, people who are HIV-negative but at risk for HIV can lower their chances of getting HIV by taking HIV prevention medicine as prescribed. This is called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). When taken daily, oral PrEP pills can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. These pills are highly effective when taken daily as prescribed. However, studies have shown that PrEP is much less effective if it is not taken consistently and that taking a daily pill can be challenging for some people.
“The global target for PrEP by 2020 is to put 3 million people on PrEP. So by 2021, the number of people they put on PrEP was 1.5 million. And as a matter of fact, over 80 per cent of those who are really impressed they’re from Western countries. For Africa, specifically, Nigeria is not something to talk about. Okay. So the world generally didn’t meet the targets, but it is worrisome when we also look at our own country. Most people don’t know about PrEP. HIV prevention drug is widely available, yet at risk. Women are not getting behind. The emphasis there is lack of education, meaning that few even know about the highly effective medication. The new generation prep. Prep that works not now as an oral pill, but as an injection. Is it here in Nigeria, the answer is no.”
NHVMAS is a watchdog for clinical research in Nigeria that has been engaged over the last 17 years in HIV prevention research and development advocacy, promoting research literacy for vulnerable populations, and working with the key populations, advocates, journalists and civil society organisations.