The use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has increased although at a much slower pace than was expected.
PrEP is a medicine taken by people at risk of contracting HIV and it prevents getting infected.
Efficacy of the daily oral drug was first proven more than a decade ago and over the years its use has been increasing.
A Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS report stated that PrEP had become a valuable additional option for people at higher risk of acquiring HIV and its global uptake had continued to increase, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Country data show that approximately 845 000 people in at least 54 countries received PrEP in 2020—a 43 percent increase since 2019, and a 182 percent increase since 2018,” said the report.
“Much of the PrEP scale-up is still highly concentrated in a fairly small number of countries, notably the United States of America, and in eastern and southern Africa, where Kenya and South Africa accounted for 158 630 (19 percent) of people who received PrEP at least once during 2020 in the region.”
The report however noted that there continued to be substantial gaps in the availability of PrEP. The total number of people using the prevention option in 2020 was just 28 percent of the target of 3 million in low- and middle-income countries, which represents only 8 percent of the new global 2025 target.