DAR ES SALAAM, May 9 — The government of Tanzania has started trials of pills that can prevent one from contracting HIV, a senior official said on Wednesday.
Faustine Ndugulile, the deputy minister of health, however, said “What we have launched is a preventive medicine, and this is meant for groups of people who are at high risk of contracting HIV. The pills will help such people not to contract HIV. We are also making trials and the drug is not yet available on the market.”
He said the preventive treatment, known medically as Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), has been launched as part of Tanzania’s fourth Health Sector HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan 2017-2022.
The pills are known to prevent HIV infection by 99 percent. They have already been rolled out in some sub-Saharan countries such as South Africa and Kenya.
Ndugulile said the trails were part of Tanzania’s long-term measures to curb HIV/AIDS, adding: “It has also come at a time the country is marking 30 years of the HIV/AIDS Prevention Plan.”
According to statistics by the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS), Tanzania has an estimated 1.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS but only 52 percent of them are aware of their condition.
The disease has mostly affected the youth aged between 14 and 25 years, says TACAIDS.