SA Aids Conference data reveals HIV prevention benefits for young people

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While an HIV vaccine remains the ultimate goal, HIV prevention interventions are making huge strides in HIV prevalence in parts of Africa.

Data presented by scientists at the SA Aids Conference in Durban has revealed the benefits of a range of HIV prevention methods, particularly for young people.

Director of Research at the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, Professor Sinead Delany-Moretlwe says shared positive data from a study conducted in Kenya and Uganda around the impact of universal access to PrEP at a community level on HIV incidence.

“In this study, they saw a 74% overall reduction in HIV resistance in people who had accessed prep compared to those who hadn’t, and this impact is also observed in women which is very encouraging. This data really emphasised the importance of scaling up PrEP and understanding the barriers to PrEP access in our communities.”

Access to healthcare 

Meanwhile, as the conference continues, civil society groups are continuing to make their voices heard for equitable access to HIV and healthcare services for key population groups.

These are groups that have been identified as being at high risk for contracting HIV.

General Secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign, Anele Yawa, raises concerns that emerged from the Ritshidze report from November last year.

Yawa says that the community-led monitoring system developed by groups representing people living with HIV looked into access to healthcare for key populations at clinics across South Africa.

“This leads some of the key populations to decide to disengage from care and go to the private sector where they have to spend money. Issues like people being ridiculed and humiliated because of their sexual orientation, where people are denied some of the services in our facilities. Where we see in our communities that there are external pick-up points but there are not enough where people have to travel long distances in order for them to access services.”

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