Gov't Asked to Involve Adolescents in PrEP Implementation

1517 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The PrEP program in Uganda stands a chance to fail if not strategically addressed to high risk groups including Adolescent Girls and Young Women.

The Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis- PrEP program in Uganda stands to fail if it is not strategically addressed to high-risk groups including Adolescent Girls and Young Women.

This is according to findings from Naguru Teenage Information and Health Center through the Advocacy Fellows program released on Friday named, Strategic Information for Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) in line with Pre-exposure prophylaxis.

Oral Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PREP) is an antiretroviral drug recommended and approved by the Ministry of Health for prevention of HIV infection for those that have tested negative upon exposure through incidences like rape and people at risk including people with multiple sexual partners among others.

According to the research policy brief, girls and young women account for 74% of new infections among adolescents in Sub Saharan Africa and nearly 1000 AGYW are infected with HIV every day. In Uganda, Ministry of Health estimates HIV incidence among adolescents high at 11.6 as of 2015.

Several studies according to researchers in a systematic review of 18 studies indicated that young participants had poorer adherence to PrEP in comparison to older ones.

Bridget Ndagaano Juuko a researcher and Advocate at Naguru Teenage Information and Health Center say there is great need for integration of services to make intervention of PrEP effective.


She says that the drug should be rolled out to young people through creation of one-stop centres and youth corners which can be accessed as a strategy to capture adolescents who are highly vulnerable.

//Cue in: "One stop centre...

Cue out: ... nokusobola okufuna PrEP."//

The government has been able to train up to 110 health workers in the provision of PrEP services and will have availed 90 sites offering PrEp services by the end of this year according PEPFAR COP 2019 and Ministry of Health.

These sites include some of the health centres around the country in high-risk areas of Kampala, Mukono, Mbarara, Arua, Kayunga among others.

Ndagano notes that PrEP is strictly for those at risk of HIV infection and it should be taken after ones status on HIV has been established including Hepatitis B among others.

//Cue in: So bwebakukebera nga toyina...

Cue out: " ...otandikka okumira PrEP."

Despite considerable progress in HIV prevention research and implementation, including the availability of counselling on HIV risk education, promotion of condom use and recently oral Pre Exposure Prophylaxis to reduce HIV infection, Adolescents and Young Women have not benefited as they should.

The findings recommend that those trained should specifically be taught how to handle this vulnerable group of young people through provision of adolescent health tools inclusive of PrEP information.

In late 2016, the Ministry of Health released the Technical Guidance on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for Persons at High Risk of HIV in Uganda which is backed up by the Consolidated Guidelines for Prevention and Treatment of HIV in Uganda, which recommend PrEP for HIV-negative people at substantial risk of acquiring HIV. 

The country has adopted a road map for the rollout of PrEP Implementation and it is being rolled out in a phased approach. 

 

Tagged with: Adolescents

About the author