PrEP trial launched in Philippines as HIV rates expected to rocket 140%
A trial of PrEP is about to be launched in the Philippines as government officials predict HIV rates to rocket 140 percent.
The Department of Health has given the go ahead to the trial for those considered most at risk of contracting HIV.
It comes after the country recorded 1098 new cases of HIV in May, the highest number of new cases ever recorded.
200 people, mainly gay men and trans women, will have access to pre-exposure prophylaxis treatment.
The World Health Organisation strongly backed the use of PrEP as HIV prevention in 2014.
Also known as Truvada, PrEP can drastically reduce people’s chances of being infected with HIV, and is available in a number of countries to at-risk groups including men who have sex with men, sex workers and people in serodiscordant relationships.
Despite being backed by WHO and other health bodies, global provision remains patchy.
So far, it has been approved for use by medical bodies in the United States and the European Union, as well as in Norway, Australia, Israel, Canada, Kenya, South Africa and Taiwan.
A study released by the Philippines Department of Health showed that men who have sex with men were most at risk of contracting HIV.
97 percent of newly contracted cases had been contracted through sexual contact.
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Speaking to Reuters, Danvic Rosadino of Love Yourself, an LGBT charity that is advising the trial, explained that the trial was a good step in the right direction.
“With the continued rise in new HIV cases, this is really timely and relevant.
“All interventions regarding HIV preventions should be made available in the Philippines,” Rosadino added.
So far, 30 of 600 applicants for the trial have been cleared and told that they will be accepted.
The Philippines is one of ten countries in the Asia Pacific which is accounting towards 95 percent of new HIV diagnoses.