HIV/AIDS is a public health problem in Nigeria. About 3.5 million people were living with HIV and AIDS in Nigeria at the end of 2011 and several others died due to AIDS-related complications.
The National HIV prevalence is estimated at 4.1%. Nigeria is also the second largest population of people living with HIV globally. About 32% of all HIV-positive babies globally are born in Nigeria. Two out of 17 million orphans and vulnerable children are so because of HIV/AIDS.
What can you do if your partner has tested positive for HIV and you’re still negative? Well, you may have to take drugs for the other person’s disease and that drug is called PrEP.
What is PrEP? (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis)
PrEp stands for Pre-exposure Prophylaxis. It is the use of anti-HIV drugs by people who do not have HIV but are at very high risk of becoming infected. A single pill is taken once daily, the pill contains two active drugs that are used to treat HIV (Truvada).
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, (PrEP) is a deliberate effort to prevent an uninfected person or partner who is at risk of getting HIV from getting infected.
Who needs PrEP?
Couples in sexual relationships where one partner is infected with HIV and the other is not, need PreP. Examples include bisexual men who have sex with both men and women, heterosexual men and women who do not regularly use condoms with partners of unknown HIV status who are at substantial risk of HIV infection like people who inject drugs or women who have bisexual male partners. PrEP is already in use in many countries to prevent new infections among sexually active couples.
If you’re a married couple, HIV negative and your partner is positive, PreP may be right for you. If you’re in Nigeria, the list below is that of the coordinators. THE TREATMENT IS FREE.
PrEP is NOT for everyone.
Please note that PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is for only people who are at ongoing high risk of HIV infection. But PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is an option for someone who thinks they have recently been exposed to HIV during sex or through sharing needles and works to prepare drugs.
How well does PrEP work?
Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90% when used consistently. When used with other safer sex practices (like condoms), treatment for people living with HIV to reduce the chances of passing it onto others, PrEP can help protect you from getting HIV from an infected partner more effectively.
Is PrEP safe?
In previous studies, no side effects have been observed. PrEP can cause side effects like nausea in some people but these generally subside over time. If you are taking PrEP, tell your healthcare provider about any side effects that are severe or that won’t go away.
Where to go to for free drugs
For now, PrEP can only be accessed through the Nigerian PrEP Project. It is a demonstration study on the use of HIV drugs for the prevention of HIV-1 among married couples; where one partner is HIV+ and the other is HIV-. The project is going on in Cross River, Plateau and Anambra States.
Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH)
Mrs Babalola-Jacobs Alero B. 08036954417
University of Calabar Teaching Hospital
Dr Promise Adat 08035173003
Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi
Dr Nkiru Ezeama 08123394367
This project is supported by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, through sponsorship from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.