Daily Observer (Jamaica)

Ja­maica AIDS Sup­port rolls out anti-hiv pill

- Health · Medical Activism · AIDS Activism · STDs · Medicine · HIV/AIDS · Immune Disorders · Health Conditions · Jamaica · United States of America · Canada · United Kingdom · Jamaica

JA­MAICA AIDS Sup­port for Life (JASL) will now be of­fer­ing pre-ex­po­sure pro­phy­laxis (PREP) as an ad­di­tional pre­ven­ta­tive op­tion for peo­ple at sub­stan­tial risk of con­tract­ing the hu­man im­mun­od­e­fi­ciency virus (HIV).

The or­gan­i­sa­tion has of­fi­cially launched its PREP pro­gramme by way of a pi­lot study with 50 par­tic­i­pants.

Of­ten re­ferred to as the ‘magic pill’, PREP is a pill that should be taken daily by peo­ple who do not have HIV to re­duce their risk of con­tract­ing the virus if ex­posed. It works best as part of a com­bi­na­tion of pre­ven­tive ser­vices that in­cludes reg­u­lar HIV test­ing and con­dom us­age.

Jen­nifer Brown Tom­lin­son, med­i­cal di­rec­tor for JASL who is lead­ing the study, ex­plained: “PREP works, Ja­maica needs to get on board now. PREP is cur­rently be­ing used in sev­eral other coun­tries and has played a ma­jor role in re­duc­ing the rate of HIV trans­mis­sion es­pe­cially among vul­ner­a­ble groups.”

PREP has been used suc­cess­fully by sev­eral coun­tries around the world in­clud­ing United States of Amer­ica (USA), Canada and United King­dom. Stud­ies have shown that PREP re­duces the risk of get­ting HIV from sex by ap­prox­i­mately 99 per cent when taken cor­rectly.

Ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of JASL, Kan­dasi Lev­er­more, thinks that, “HIV in­fec­tion is pre­ventable, yet ev­ery year we see some 1,000 new in­fec­tions in Ja­maica. PREP, used along with other preven­tion strate­gies, has the po­ten­tial to help at-risk in­di­vid­u­als pro­tect them­selves and re­duce new HIV in­fec­tions dras­ti­cally.”

JASL is cur­rently em­bark­ing on a pub­lic education cam­paign to heighten cit­i­zen’s aware­ness about PREP. The cam­paign will tran­scend print and so­cial me­dia along with ra­dio and bill­board.

Peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in learning more about PREP are be­ing en­cour­aged to fol­low JASL’S so­cial me­dia plat­forms or call 876-925-0021.

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