As South Africa begins its roll out of PrEP for at-risk populations in the public health sector, the capital has become one of the first cities to offer the service.
TEN81 Center in Hatfield, run by OUT LGBT Well-being, has announced that it now supplies free PrEP to gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in Tshwane for the first time.
PrEP for MSM can already be sourced for free in Johannesburg and Cape Town, from two Health4Men clinics in Yeoville and Woodstock (see Quick Facts below).
The daily medication, which has been proven to be highly effective in preventing HIV-negative people from getting HIV, will be available from TEN81 from the 3rd of April, 2017.
The groundbreaking use of PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prohylaxis) by MSM and other at risk groups has been approved by South Africa’s Department of Health and international bodies such as the World Health Organisation.
“PrEP is a game-changer for MSM,” says Johan Meyer, Health Manager at TEN81. “It offers a powerful new tool in the arsenal against the spread of HIV. We especially urge all gay, bi and other MSM who are active on the dating scene, may have multiple partners or choose to have riskier sex to consider using this service.”
He adds: “For many gay, bi and MSM internationally, using PrEP has become like taking their daily vitamins. Of course, PrEP should ideally be used in combination with other prevention methods such as condoms and water based-lubrication, which have the added benefit of preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs).”
To access free PrEP at TEN81, clients should first call 012 430 2081 to make an appointment to see a friendly nurse and to have an HIV test.
If a client is HIV negative, they will be given an initial month’s supply of PrEP. After a month, they will be required to return for another HIV test and will then be provided three months’ supply of the medication.
QUICK PrEP FACTS
What is PrEP?
PrEP is a new, safe, HIV prevention method, in the form of a pill, for HIV-negative people to reduce the risk of becoming infected.
How often must I take it?
PrEP must be taken daily on an ongoing basis at around the same time of the day. PrEP requires strict adherence to be effective.
How effective is it?
HIV-negative people who take PrEP every day can lower their risk of HIV infection by more than 90%.
Can I take it for just one night?
No, PrEP must be taken on an ongoing daily basis to be effective.
Can I stop taking PrEP once I start?
Yes, you can stop using PrEP at any time, but you will then no longer be protected.
Are there side effects?
Some people may get mild side effects (such as nausea, headache, tiredness, diarrhoea, depression, abnormal dreams, vomiting, rash, problems sleeping and changes in appetite.) These side effects, when they happen, usually go away after a few weeks.
Can I stop using condoms when using PrEP?
PrEP is very effective in preventing HIV infection but using it together with condoms and water based lubrication is recommended. Remember, condoms also help prevent other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which PrEP does not.
How much will PrEP cost me?
If you source your PrEP from TEN81 or Health4Men it won’t cost you anything! The service is free.
Where can I get it?
• If you are in the Pretoria / Tshwane area, call the TEN81 Centre on 012 430 2081 or visit www.1081.co.za.
• In Johannesburg and Cape Town, contact the Health4Men clinics in Yeoville (011 648 7979) or Woodstock (021 447 2844). Visit www.health4men.co.za.
• You can also source PrEP from your GP, at your own cost.