Jamaica to Embark on HIV PrEP Pilot Program


KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Ministry of Health says that it will be launching its Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) pilot programme before the end of the year in an effort to reduce new cases of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to zero.

This announcement was made by Acting Director, Health Promotion and Protection in the Ministry, Dr Simone Spence earlier this week during a press conference.

PrEP is usually served in the form of a pill that is designed to be taken by HIV-negative individuals to prevent the contraction of the HIV virus.

Persons who take PrEP daily are said to reduce their risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90 per cent, and the drug can also be taken just around the risky sexual activity.

“In terms of our pilot programme for PrEP, we’re in the preparatory stages, looking at determining criteria in terms of which patients would be most suited to participate and then do a pilot to roll that out later this year, before we make a definitive decision on how, logistically, we roll out the PrEP programme,” Spence said.

She said the government, which is also funding the Antiretroviral (ARV) medications that are provided to persons living with HIV, will be responsible for the programme.

“We [Jamaica] still benefit from donor funding in different areas, but as we go through the transition stage, we’re looking at our sustainability plan and how it is that we will continue to maintain and sustain the gains we have made thus far under the HIV response, to ensure that we don’t lose the gains that we have already made and continue to make strides to, hopefully, reduce to zero, our HIV incidents,” she said. – CMC