Malawi engaged an extra gear in the fight against HIV and AIDS on Friday, 1st September 2023, by launching the implementation science for long-acting injectable Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). The intervention adds to the country’s comprehensive combination prevention package for HIV.
The launch, which took place at Likuni Boys Secondary School Ground in Lilongwe, was presided over by the Deputy Minister of Health, Hon. Halima Daudi, MP.
The event was also attended by representatives of the various partners in the National Response to HIV and AIDS, including the Country Coordinator of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Uchechi Roxo, and Country Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), Nuha Ceesay, as well as Minister of Gender, Community Services and Social Welfare, Hon. Jean Sendeza, MP.
Speaking during the launch, the Deputy Minister of Health said the long-acting PrEP will be implemented in Lilongwe and Blantyre and will target 38 health centres in the two districts. She thanked PEPFAR for creating 10,000 jabs for the people that will be implementing this program.
“The long-acting injectable PrEP is an initiative that is intended to replace the oral PrEP in the medium to long term. The Oral PrEP is administered or taken daily while the long-acting injectable PrEP is taken at intervals of two months and is more effective because it remains active for a longer period of time. All these interventions are administered to those identified to be at the highest risk of contracting HIV,” she said.
The PEPFAR Country Coordinator, Uchechi Roxo, hailed Malawi for the strides registered in the fight against the HIV and AIDS epidemic and committed to continue supporting the interventions as Malawi moves towards ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
Long-acting injectable PrEP will be implemented as part of a comprehensive combination prevention package for the prevention of HIV amongst most at-risk populations. The most at-risk populations targeted under the intervention include female sex workers, men who have sex with men and people who use and inject themselves with drugs.