Outreach encourages women at risk to take PrEP

• By Staff Reporter

RECENTLY, the U.S. Government-funded DREAMS programme and the Ministry of Health and Social Services launched new public awareness materials encouraging young women at risk of contracting HIV to take Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis medication (PrEP) to stay HIV-free.

PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by 90 percent.

HIV prevalence among Namibian adolescent girls and young women is about seven percent, meaning they face substantial risk of infection.

The new public awareness materials range from radio spots and social media messages to educational posters and flyers, valued at N$290 000 in total.

These tools will support the health ministry, DREAMS ambassadors, and others working in communities with young women and their sexual partners to encourage them to use PrEP if at risk.

“With these materials, the project hopes to see an increase in Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis uptake and an increase of women who consistently stay on PrEP during times of risk,” said USAID DREAMS coordinator Nicole Miller in remarks delivered on behalf of Jessica Long, the Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy.

The new tools will also inform people where to get PrEP and guide users to determine if PrEP is the best HIV prevention choice based on their situation.

PrEP only reduces the risk of contracting HIV, which is why condom use is still important for the protection against other sexually transmitted diseases, as well as against pregnancy.

DREAMS stands for Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe and is funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

In Namibia, the programme is implemented by Project Hope and ACHIEVE.

Since September 2018, more than 26 000 adolescent girls and young women in Namibia have opted to take Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis medication, over 65 percent of them through DREAMS.

The United States government has been a partner in health with the Namibian government for nearly two decades, especially in the fields of HIV, TB, and Covid-19.