About 54,000 Kenyans are now using the daily HIV prevention pill – up from 9,000 a year ago. This puts the country second after the US, which has 197,000 users in a population of 325m. The Standard reports that this is a major jump from just about 9,000 early last year, to 27,000 in November and 54,000 in February 2019.
The pill known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and taken daily by HIV negative people to protect them against infection was officially launched in Kenya in 2017. PrePWatch, an Internet site run by the US NGO AVAC, and which tracks the use of the pill globally, puts Kenya the top-user in Africa.
The report say use in Kenya is way ahead of countries with higher HIV prevalence rates. Swaziland (Eswatini) which has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world, 27%, has 2,300 PrEP users; Botswana with a prevalence rate of 22% has only 100 PrEP users; South Africa with a prevalence rate of 19% has 17,000 users; and Uganda has 12,000 users, Tanzania 8,300 and Nigeria 600. HIV prevalence rate in Kenya is 5.4%. Among the wealthier countries; the UK has 11,000 users, Australia 18,000, Japan 100, China 1,000 and Spain 1,500.
When taken as prescribed, experts say PrEP can reduce the risk of contracting HIV by up to 90%. Going by the brand name Truvada, it is manufactured by the US drug maker Gilead Sciences. However, Mylan Laboratories and Aurobindo Pharma of India have registered generics of Truvada in Kenya for use in HIV prevention.The Standard report