South African AIDS Activists Demand PrEP Now

June 10, 2015

Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa — South African advocates call for Truvada as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infection to be made available to all those who need it now. Truvada as PrEP is an effective and safe medication that has been proven to reduce the risk of HIV infection for all populations. Clinical trials from a multitude of respected institutions and physicians have shown that PrEP works when taken as directed.

As the 7th SA AIDS conference gets underway in Durban, a diverse collection of advocates have assembled to call on the South African Medicines Control Council (MCC) to immediately approve the use of Truvada PrEP. PrEP must be made available and accessible to South Africans who are at heightened risk of infection, and would benefit from an additional tool to prevent HIV. South Africa is the most impacted country by HIV in scope and scale. To turn around our epidemic, South African young women and girls, gay men, sex workers, and people who use drugs need PrEP as an additional HIV prevention option.

We, South African advocates, are alarmed to see the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), an American-based chain clinic and pharmacy that has led the charge in PrEP Denialism, participate at the Durban Aids Conference. The AHF has consistently opposed PrEP using faulty science and fear mongering and has failed to accept extensive research that has clearly and repeatedly shown PrEP to be safe and efficacious. South Africa can only allow evidence-based health policy and implementation. Denialism thrown in the face of facts and research can never be allowed again. As South Africans, we know too well the human cost of misinformation about HIV and of waiting too long to implement life-saving, evidence-based HIV interventions.

We call on the MCC of South Africa and the Department of Health to prioritize enabling access to this HIV prevention medication. Over 1,200 infections occur in South Africa each and every month. It is imperative that we use every option available to reduce new HIV infections, thereby reducing the number of people who will spend their lives on ARVs.

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