That’s it: all doctors, including general practitioners, can since Tuesday, June 1 directly initiate PrEP, a preventive treatment for HIV-negative to avoid the risk of infection with the AIDS virus. Before that date, the first prescription for this treatment could only be made by doctors from hospital services that take care of HIV, or in a free screening and diagnostic center (CeGIDD). The attending physician could only renew the prescription.
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Taken in tablets, this pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment based on antiretrovirals helps prevent HIV contamination during sex without a condom. “Today more than 30,000 people are on PrEP but it is not enough to break the chains of new contaminations and to lower and then disappear the epidemic”, underlined the Ministry of Health in a press release. This number of users does not appear to be far removed from that of June 2020.
HIV testing compromised by Covid-19
In addition, “the COVID-19 health crisis highlighted the drop in screening activity for HIV (-10%) and bacterial STIs (STDs) (-6%) in 2020, and the decrease in using PrEP, ”the ministry notes. “The Covid-19 must not make people forget the other epidemics, starting with that of HIV. The deployment of PrEP in the city is a long-standing request of the associations that we honor today”, according to the minister, who s is said to be “sure” that this decision will have “a significant impact on contamination”.
The AIDES association deplored in particular the too low proportion of women (3%) on PrEP. If the principle had been announced in December, on the occasion of the world day against AIDS, the commitment is held a little later than expected. At the time, Olivier Véran had declared before the Assembly: “liberal doctors will soon be able, it is a matter of a few weeks, to prescribe this famous PrEP as a first-time prescription”.