Mexico City - Mexican health authorities announced that an HIV profilaxis pre-exposition program (PrEP) will be launched in four cities in Mexico, during the first quarter, 2018. The program is targeted toward HIV-negative individuals that are part of high-risk groups, in order to avoid infection.
In a press conference, Dr. Ariel Campos Loza, of Jalisco's State Council for AIDS Prevention, explained that PrEP is the common name for Truvada, a medication taken once a day during a period of one month, that is more than 92 percent effective in preventing an HIV-negative person to become infected despite having contact with the virus.
According to the specialist, PrEP will be distributed in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta and Oaxaca during the first quarter, 2018, with three thousand free treatments targeting high risk sectors likely to become infected with HIV, such as men that have sex with other men, transsexuals and serodiscordant couples (where one of the members is HIV positive and the other one is not).
Campos Loza emphasized that this type of protocol has proven effective in other countries, and as such, could significantly help reduce new infections in Mexico.
Patricia Uribe Zúńiga, who oversees the National Center for AIDS and HIV Prevention and Control, added that, as of June 30, 2017, there were 220,000 people living with AIDS, of which 144,000 are identified and from which 141,000 are receiving proper treatment.
Although she stated that the epidemy is still focused on high-risk groups (men that have sex with men, transsexuals, intravenous drug users and male sexual workers), the specialist emphasized that an average of 12,000 annual infections - or 33 per day - are presently being registered.
The main challenge, she said, is timely detection, since it is estimated that some 76,000 HIV positive people ignore their condition, do not receive proper treatment, and are infecting others.
When asked for more targeted information, she added that in recent months, an increase in HIV infections has been detected in the states of Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán, Quintana Roo and Veracruz, largely due to tourism-generated mobility and oil-related work. In addition, infections are increasing among the 50-plus population, due to the mistaken idea that there is no sexual activity at that age.
National Secretary of Health, José Narro Robles, added that HIV is still considered an epidemic in Mexico, and a public health problem that demands a substantial ethical commitment from all involved.
For Puerto Vallarta-based information on the PrEP pilot program, please contact SETAC, Puerto Vallarta's HIV/AIDS Community Center, by calling (322) 224-1974, by visiting the Facebook Page, or by visiting the Center at Aldanaca 178 esq. Viena Interior 4-A, in Colonia Versalles.
The original article, written by Fernando Camacho Servín for unam.mx, was translated and edited by Paco Ojeda for BanderasNews.com.
The purpose of the SETAC Community Center, located at Aldanaca 178, 4A & 4B, in the Colonia Versalles of neighborhood of Puerto Vallarta, is to provide essential services to the community, including physical and mental health treatment, referrals, and education in an atmosphere of safety, free from discrimination. For more information, contact Paco Arjona at (322) 224-1974 or paco(at)setac.com.mx.
Click HERE to learn more about Centro Comunitario SETAC.