Earlier, I attended an invite-only event of LoveYourself – this was actually the launch of PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis) in the country. It was entitled #HackingHIV and the pioneers and frontrunners of the advocacy are there to update us about where we are now, and what the developments are with regards to the disease.
Following are screenshots of an article I got from the net to give you a brief background about PrEP (source : http://www.avert.org/hiv-transmission-prevention/prep )
Actually, the drug is now 99% effective. There were two recorded cases (as far as I know) of people being infected with HIV even if they were using the drug. These cases were rare and immaterial – imagine 2 / thousands of people using the drug. One of them did not use it correctly, and the other got a rare drug resistant strain of the virus.
Also included in the contraindications are those who have known allergies to the components of the drug; and those who have kidney diseases.
The question is – will the Philippines be ready to have the drug?
And the answer is – YES. The LoveYourself organization would pioneer the use of PrEP in its Anglo clinic, and would enroll 200 individuals to the program. How these people would be chosen – That I have no idea. Haha. But I guess they’d be given to the ones who are most at risk – people whose partners are already HIV positive, sex workers, men having sex with multiple partners…
If you ask me – I’d still prefer the cheapest route, practicing safe sex and using condoms.
The drug would be free for these 200 people enrolled in the program though. It’s going to be funded by the organization in cooperation with the government. But my key takeaway from the forum earlier was:
Is the government doing enough to stop the spread of HIV?
The answer is NO. But it is not only the government’s responsibility, rather, it is everybody’s responsibility to help stop the spread of the virus. We are altogether not doing enough.
Just this morning, the report documenting the number of HIV cases has been released and as you can see, there still is a rise among the number of new infections in the country.
A senator, Risa Hontiveros, had her HIV screening this morning – to increase awareness and to let the public know that this threat is REAL. And that it should never be ignored.
With Jeremy, my batchmate
With one of the heads of the organization (guy in blue)
With my other batchmates
With the volunteers who attended this night’s event