Peru the latest country to approve PrEP

15 April 2016
Peruvian flag

Peru is the latest country to approve the use of the antiretroviral drug, Truvada, as pre-exposure prohpylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV among people at a high risk of infection.

South Africa, Kenya, the USA and Canada are among the countries that already offer PrEP. If used consistently and correctly, PrEP can be over 90% effective in preventing the transmission of HIV.

The USA was the first country to approve its use for men who have sex with men (MSM) and other key affected populations in July 2012. More recently, South Africa made PrEP available to all sex workers who test negative for HIV in a new plan considered ‘progressive’.

In September 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended the use of PrEP as a prevention tool as part of a combination of interventions to prevent HIV transmission among those most at risk.

The announcement from Peru comes around a month after NHS England decided against providing the drug on the National Health Service, despite resounding evidence of its efficacy in the UK – much to the shock and dismay of civil society.

Peru was one of the first countries to host a trial for the efficacy of PrEP, called iPrex. Several studies have since shown that PrEP roll-out in Peru would also be cost-effective.

Whilst the drug has been approved, there is currently no national PrEP policy or guidance in the country, according to PrEP Watch, a PrEP information website maintained by iNGO, AVAC.

However, Truvada patent owner, Gilead Sciences and their Latin American business partner, Gador S.A. will work with the local HIV community in Peru to ensure that people are correctly educated about how to use the drug. 

Photo credit:
Photo by hector pastor fernandez/ CC-BY