MTRH, Part of Landmark Findings in The Fight Against HIV
HIV discordant couples, where one partner has HIV and the other does not have HIV infection, are in urgent need of prevention strategies. Stable, heterosexual, HIV discordant couples are an important risk group for HIV infection in Africa, accounting for up to half or more of new infections. Many of these couples are in committed relationships and desire children; thus, abstinence and condoms are not often sufficient to prevent HIV transmission.
The recent findings led by the University of Washington’s International Clinical Research Center shows clear evidence that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)-either the antiretrovirals medication tenovir or tenovir in combination with emtricitabine-experienced significantly fewer HIV infections than those who received placebo pill.
During a press briefing on the recent development on the breakthrough on discordant couples held on July 15, 2011, Dr. Sylvester Kimaiyo who represented the Dean, Moi University, School of Medicine said that the success story brought about by PrEP Study has given the world a new weapon in the fight against the HIV especially among the discordant couples.
Dr. Kimaiyo, who is also the Programme Manager, Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare formerly a programme dealing with HIV/AIDS in the region with over 135,000 clients on the program emphasized that caution should be exercised that PrEP results will need to be used as part of a combination of HIV prevention strategies including existing behavioural interventions-the Abstinence, Being faithful to one partner, Condom use (ABCs) and male circumcision among others. He asserts that the ultimate goal of the fight will be to have an HIV injection.
Dr. Dismas Oketch, a leading physician in the Eldoret Study Site said they were excited with the initial results and thanked all the collaborators including the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and Moi University. He informed the gathering that the study was still ongoing. For science community in the region, there will be a Grand Round on July 21, 2011.