WINDHOEK - Local women are interested in learning more about pre-exposure prophylaxis, which is also known as PrEP, a pill taken by HIV negative people that prevent them from contracting HIV.
PrEP is taken daily while at risk for HIV, like in cases where one does not know the other partner’s HIV status, have a partner who has HIV or have problems using condoms all the time.
This information was shared during Women General Health Awareness Day and Women’s Action for Development (WAD)’s 25th anniversary.
The women who are Women’s Action for Development beneficiaries and come from impoverished background attended the event last week at Disability Resources Centre in Okuryangava where they were given information sharing session of PrEp programme, breast and cervical cancer.
The women were also informed about asthma, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Dreams lead nurse from Itech Namibia Eucabeth Onyinkwa told the women that PrEP is medication given to people both men and women who are HIV negative but are at high risk of being infected with it. She said the person takes a pill every day at the same time.
Onyinkwa said before one gets on PrEP, they need to be tested. PrEP is available at every clinic and it is given free.
“It is a new way of keeping ourselves HIV negative. It comes in a form of a pill and you have to take it every day when you consider yourself to be infected with HIV,” stated Onyinkwa.
She said that the pill only protects people from HIV and not sexual transmitted illnesses or pregnancy. Women in the crowd engaged Onyinkwa and asked her more about PrEP.
One of the attendees wanted to know if there is a drug interaction between PrEP and contraceptives to which Onyinkwa said no.
Another participant asked how long it takes before PrEP works, Onyinkwa replied that it takes up to 20 days before one is protected against HIV.
She added this doesn’t mean one should then stop taking it but rather continue.
“Before the first 20 days, the person needs back up such as condoms to make sure they are fully protected,” remarked Onyinkwa while adding that the pill works better when taken properly.
A health community worker asked who should take the pill as they sometimes meet children requesting their assistance. Onyinkwa said a person should be 15 years and older and weight above 35 kg.
“PrEP puts you in control and if your partner does not want to use condoms – you have already taken care of yourself,” said Onyinkwa.
WAD Executive Director Salatiel Shinedima said they teamed up with the Ministry of Health and Social Services to have a general health awareness day for the women on their celebration. He explained that they decided to bring the celebration to the beneficiaries - the women.
“As you know, if you educate women you educate the entire society. What we are hopeful of is the information they are getting here will help the whole society. They will spread and take it back to their family and society and make sure key diseases are prevented in society,” stated Shinedima.
Touching on the achievement over the 25 years, Shinedima said they have established regional structures which were initially called women voices but later called community voices to include both men and women.
For the past five years, WAD introduced male engagement programmes where they go out and create awareness on gender-based violence, trafficking in person as well as gender related law. “These are initiatives we are trying to change the mindset and behaviours of men when it comes to gender issues,” said Shinedima.
2019-07-24 09:55:00 26 days ago