Brazil will make the HIV preventative drug, PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), available to populations at highest risk of HIV infection.
This includes sex workers, mixed HIV-status couples, transgender people and gay and bisexual men.
The Ministry of Health announced Wednesday (24 May) it will offer the drug through the Brazilian Unified Health System (SUS) within six months.
‘Brazil, once again, emerges as one of the pioneers in HIV prevention and treatment,’ said Minister Ricardo Barros, during a video press conference while participating in the World Health Assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland.
The initial investment of the Ministry of Health will be $1.9 million to purchase 2.5 million tablets which they say should meet the demand for a year.
The AIDS Epidemiological Bulletin shows higher HIV rates in these subgroups when compared to the 0.4% rate in the general population.
For female sex workers it is 4.9%. Among people who use drugs (except alcohol and marijuana) is 5.9% and among gay men and men who have sex with men the HIV prevalence rate is 10.5%.
PrEP is already used in countries such as the US, Belgium, Scotland, Peru and Canada, where it is marketed in the private network.
It has been incorporated into the public health system in France and South Africa, among others.