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Hookers urged to take up new HIV prevention method

by Staff reporter
23 Aug 2017 at 08:10hrs | Views
THE government has urged sex workers to quickly report to medical institutions to be initiated onto the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) programme to ascertain if there is a possibility of exposure to HIV.

PrEP is meant for people who do not have HIV, but are at substantial risk of getting it. Such people take a pill every day to prevent infection.

Speaking in Parliament recently, the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa, said Government is now not just emphasising on prevention as the primary prevention against HIV, but is also promoting PrEP.

The Minister said sex workers who are a key population are encouraged to go onto PrEP as they are at risk.

"Now with Pre- Exposure Prophylaxis what it means is that, those people who are at risk of getting HIV, mostly because of their profession, we are encouraging them to go onto Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, which means we give them treatment or tablets to prevent them from catching HIV should they come into contact with that. This we are actually encouraging very much in terms of our sex workers. So, we are saying to sex workers; Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis is available, especially for our women. So when that happens, it also helps," he said.

"The second thing is, those who have been exposed, perhaps have been raped and you want to prevent them catching HIV, we encourage Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). They are available in the country. The centre of that availability is Wilkins Hospital, but we are saying, it is all disseminated to our central and district hospitals so that people can access them. So, if a woman is raped and we are not sure and she is not sure of the status of the man, which is mostly the case, we encourage they get the PEP within 48 hours of being raped. "

He said there is a lot of bureaucracy for one to get PEP services, but his Ministry was trying through its systems to ensure that people get the required services without any hassles.

"I must say it is not talked about very much and so our population do not know much about it and I think we need to have a very vigorous exercise to educate our people about Post-Exposure and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis," said Dr Parirenyatwa.

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Source - chronicle
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