Oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), taken as a once-daily pill, has been hailed the world over as one of the major HIV prevention interventions in the fight against Aids.
Yet apart from sex workers, very few South Africans are using PrEP or even know that it exists. The latest Department of Health (DoH) figures show that just 3011 young people (aged 15 to 24) are using PrEP.
This is despite the fact that, if taken as prescribed, PrEP can reduce one’s risk of contracting HIV through sex by over 90%.
“Three thousand is a woefully low figure. It’s not clear why something that clearly works is not being rolled out aggressively, particularly for young women,” said Professor Francois Venter from the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute.