PANCAP endorses HIV prevention drug

The Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) has endorsed the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation that Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) be offered to all population groups that are at substantial risk of becoming infected with HIV.

The endorsement comes as countries around the world observe December as HIV awareness month. Oral PrEP use prevents HIV negative persons from contracting the HIV virus.

PANCAP notes that the drug is considered a key prevention modality. It says PrEP should be an additional prevention choice along with testing, screening and management of sexually transmitted infections, counselling, and the use of male and female condoms.

The partnership also noted that the English-speaking Caribbean, The Bahamas and Barbados have developed and implemented PrEP programmes. PANCAP says both countries have at least 18 months of implementation experience and have been sharing lessons learnt that can potentially be applied in other Caribbean countries.

Locally, health authorities report that in 2018, 40 000 people were living with HIV in Jamaica.