While the world has been preoccupied with the COVID pandemic for almost three years, HIV is receiving less and less attention.
According to the UN, 38.4 million people were living with HIV in 2021, nearly 650,000 people passed away from AIDS-related illnesses, and 1.5 million people contracted the virus for the first time.
Key populations that account for close to 70% of infections include sex workers and their clients, men who have sex with men, those who inject drugs, and transgender persons and their partners.
Another crucial demographic is adolescent girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa, where over 5,000 contract HIV every week.
Options for HIV prevention were fairly limited for a long time. Early campaigns consisted of the ABCs – abstinence, being faithful, and condoms. Male circumcision was added in the early 2000s, but numerous attempts to develop a vaccination have failed.
PrEP, or HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, was first made available in 2012, and this caused a lot of enthusiasm.
Emtricitabine and tenofovir, two drugs used to treat HIV, were combined in the first version of PrEP, an oral pill. PrEP is exceedingly safe and effective at preventing HIV infection when taken on a regular basis.
PrEP was hailed as a game-changer because it allowed individuals to take control of their sexual health, especially those who may not have been able to regulate when or how they engaged in sex.
Many people have found oral PrEP to be effective, especially heterosexual couples and males who engage in sexual activity with other men in high-income situations (couples in which one person has HIV and the other does not).
Others find it challenging to continuously take a pill during times when they are at risk of contracting HIV, such as young people. Although there is interest, several obstacles stand in the way. Some are person-related, such as forgetfulness, transportation to a clinic, and different priorities. Other problems include stigma and a lack of assistance.
Another safe option has been created: vaginal ring administration of PrEP. How many people will desire to utilize it as it becomes more readily accessible is not yet known.
PrEP has being slowly made available to more people, particularly in high-income nations.
Even though some nations, including Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia, and Nigeria, have taken a more proactive approach than others, getting PrEP remains challenging for many.
As long as these crucial difficulties can be resolved, injectable PrEP is positioned to significantly impact HIV prevention now that it is a viable alternative.
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