Kenya Rolls Out HIV Preventive Measure

Kenya Rolls Out HIV Preventive Measure

VOICE OF AMERICA

Thousands of HIV-negative Kenyans will for the first time be placed on daily antiretroviral medication in a bid to prevent new infections.

The new program seeks to lower the country’s HIV transmission rate for people who face a substantial risk of contracting HIV, such as rape victims and HIV-negative drug users.

Martin Sirengo, head of the National AIDS and STI Control Program, said the measure involved the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

“We are introducing PrEP to a selected population, not to everyone, and this selected population includes, for instance, HIV-negative partners in a discordant relationship, where the other partner is positive,” Sirengo said. “Anyone who comes and gives a history of repeated sexually transmitted infections, anyone who comes for repeated PrEP medication, that tells us they are at risk of getting HIV,” will be eligible, he said. “We are also recommending PrEP to anyone who has multiple sexual partners.”

If taken daily, the drugs have a more than 96 percent success rate of preventing HIV infection. Researchers discovered that the 4 percent who got HIV had not adhered to the regimen.

Kenya becomes the second country in Africa, after South Africa, to roll out PrEP.

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