The App provides clinical professionals, counselors, pharmacists, HIV testing providers, and current or potential users of pre-exposure prophylaxis with key information.
Guatemala, 19 November 2018 (PAHO/WHO)- A mobile application developed in Spanish by the Pan American Health Organization/ World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and Jhpiego, an NGO affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, aims to facilitate the introduction of a pill for HIV prevention in the Region of the Americas.
New cases of HIV have remained steady at around 120,000 a year since 2010 in Latin America and the Caribbean, 64% of them in gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, trans women, and other key population groups and their sexual partners.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is one of the most effective resources available to prevent new cases of HIV infection. Since 2015, WHO has recommended that PrEP should be offered as an additional prevention choice for people at substantial risk of infection. Daily use of this medicine reduces the risk of contracting HIV by up to 90%.
Given the need for practical advice on how to introduce PrEP and begin treatment, WHO developed an implementation tool, called “Oral PrEP”. This tool consists of a series of modules, available online, that can be accessed quickly and easily via easy-to-view apps for smartphones and tablets.
“Expanding access to PrEP can accelerate the reduction in new infections, particularly among persons at high risk of acquiring HIV,” said Massimo Ghidinelli, Chief of the HIV, Hepatitis, Tuberculosis and Sexually Transmitted Infections Unit at PAHO. “This measure, together with the use of other prevention methods, including condoms, can help end AIDS by 2030.”
The app contains five modules with information aimed at clinicians, counselors, pharmacists, HIV testing providers, and PrEP users. It provides details on clinical issues, prophylaxis, criteria and contraindications, drug regimens, use, approach, and advice, as well as on pharmaceutical issues, initiation and monitoring, key messages, and frequently asked questions for people considering starting PrEP and for those who already use it.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis is relatively new in the Region of the Americas. Only five countries currently offer it under their public policies: Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, and the United States.
PAHO offers its Member States the option to acquire the high-quality generic drug used for PrEP at a cost of less than seven dollars per person per month, through the PAHO Strategic Fund. This could reduce the cost of the pill and make it more accessible for the Region’s ministries of health.
The launch of the Spanish version of this tool (which has been available in English since July 2018) was announced at a meeting in Guatemala on new paradigms and innovation to help improve progress towards overcoming the HIV epidemic in Latin America. This was organized by PAHO and took place on 19-21 November.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) works with the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of its population. Founded in 1902, it is the world’s oldest international public health agency. It serves as the Regional Office of WHO for the Americas and is the specialized health agency of the Inter-American system.
Jhpiego is an international non-profit organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University. Jhpiego has worked to prevent the deaths of women and their families for the past 40 years, across more than 155 countries.