Among the strategies that are being applied to deal with HIV, there is one that shows great effectiveness. This is PrEP, also known as PrEP. This is a pill containing emtricitabine and tenofovir, two drugs that are also used in antiretroviral drugs because they reduce the amount of virus in the blood and prevent it from multiplying.
Cities such as London, San Francisco and New York recorded fewer and fewer new HIV infections and experts attributed most of these achievements to the use of these pills.
If taken daily, PrEP reduces more than 90 percent of the chances of contracting HIV through sexual intercourse or by 70 percent by using needles that are not sterilized or used by many people, according to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC for its acronym in English) .
Since 2012, an American laboratory has marketed it under the Truvada brand. And, three years later, the World Health Organization (WHO) began recommending its use to prevent HIV among groups at high risk of contracting HIV, such as homosexuals, bisexual men and their female partners, sex workers or sex workers. partner of someone who is infected with this virus.
Omar Sued, technical director of Fundación Huésped, explained: "PrEP is widely known, approved and works very well. We, from the Foundation, encourage the Government to include it in the fight against HIV."
-And why hasn't it been included?
– There is a lot of talk about costs, it is one of the arguments of those who do not want the State to be responsible. But that is a mistake. The pill costs 17,000 pesos per month if you buy it at a pharmacy, 4000 if you get it through social work and 700 if provided by the State. That is why state participation is important. This is cheaper than caring for an infected person.
-How does it work?
-It contains emtricitabine and tenofivir, two drugs that prevent the virus from colonizing the body and reproducing. These drugs are also used, along with others, in treatments to control HIV infection in people who already have it.
Can anyone use it?
There is no limit. The first condition is that the person is not infected. PrEP prevents, does not cure.
-Why doesn't it work for infected people?
-Because being an "incomplete" treatment (using only two of the three sets of drugs that make up the complete treatment) is not effective against infection and, more seriously, produces resistance to these drugs. Then they did not serve the person to treat their infection.
-And what are the other conditions for using it?
– Another condition is that it is part of prophylaxis and treatment strategies. PrEP users must periodically check that they are not infected. And this is not a problem everyone starts using, it is also aimed at groups who are more likely to be infected. And the ideal is to use it in the context of preventive measures: prophylactic use, not sharing needles, etc. Pills function, for example, if prophylaxis breaks. It should be rare. But a sex worker, who has a relationship with fifty people per week, has a high risk of being violated at some point.
-You say there are groups who oppose this pill.
-Some opposition in some cases because of moral problems. Things like circumstances cannot spend money on this if there are guys who need milk.
-Very nonsense The state must provide the necessary milk and also what is needed to combat the spread of HIV.
– Certain. This is a false argument, as groups say that there is no need to legalize abortion but to develop ESI, and now they are against ESI. They are a group that seeks to punish certain sexual practices and certain pleasures.
-Just oppose this reactionary group?
-No, there is also opposition from several groups of people who live with viruses.
– Is it true? Very weird!
– Yes, people will think that they will support any initiative so they don't spread more people, but not. The argument is that instead of PrEP, it is necessary to develop more campaigns for prophylactic use (here we also have to do both things, don't oppose). And others fear that if the use of this pill is recommended, it will harm resources that are destined to fight infection.
-They don't seem worthy of arguing.
-They do not.
-We talk about side effects, such as kidney problems, liver problems …
-PrEP is a drug and, like others, can cause problems. But read anyone's prospectus and we will see that they are all potentially dangerous. However, for us to have ideas about potential hazards, we must remember that WHO does not recommend specific follow-up for users who do not have a history of liver or kidney disease.
-It seems less dangerous to the kidneys than diclofenac …
-Of course yes. Of course, it must be taken according to the prescription and with medical control.
– In Argentina is this used?
Yes That is why we promote State participation, to reduce costs and that can be obtained through social work or with state provisions. There is a boy who submitted an order and for now, until the underlying problem is resolved, OSDE must provide it. With the Foundation we are part of an international research consortium, among others, to look at ways of administration. In France they showed that it might not be necessary to take pills every day and in other places they saw the possibility of injecting presentations, every two months.