Speaking to a meeting on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) yesterday, ahead of the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016), Chris Beyrer, president of the International AIDS Society, reminded delegates that the last time the conference was held in Durban, South Africa, in the year 2000, the event was notable for drawing attention to the enormous gap in access to HIV treatment between rich and poorer countries. That conference began the treatment access era.
“Now is really the time to start the PrEP access era,” Beyrer said.
The questions about whether PrEP works have been resolved. But a host of questions about the best way to implement PrEP remain, including who to offer PrEP to, where to provide it and how to stimulate demand.
To help health services and countries answer those questions, the World Health Organization (WHO) will soon issue implementation guidance, outlined to the meeting by Rachel Baggaley of WHO and Robert Grant of the University of California. The document is designed to be practical, addressing in separate chapters the needs and interests of political leaders, medicines regulators, community educators, public health officials, clinic administrators, clinicians, counsellors, testing providers, pharmacists, and monitoring and evaluation staff. A specific chapter addressed to individuals taking PrEP will answer their frequently asked questions.