North western province clinical care specialist, Jonathan Ncheengamwa says pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drug does not encourage prostitution but ensures that sex workers are protected from HIV.
Dr. Ncheengamwa says sex workers in the province are among the target population who are being given PrEP to prevent them from contracting the virus.
ZANIS reports the clinical care specialist saying in an interview in Solwezi today that sex workers face a high risk of contracting the virus because they have sexual contact with different people who may be infected with HIV.
Dr. Ncheengamwa stated that all those who have reached the age of sexual consent are eligible for PrEP as they are at risk of having sexual contact with people who have the virus.
He said the only exclusion criteria for PrEP among adults are those who already have HIV as this group of people should be taking anti-retro viral drugs.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ncheengamwa revealed that HIV self-test kits are available in health facilities within the province and can be accessed by anyone who is of the legal age of consent.
The kits are one of the strategies put in place by ministry of health to ensure that at least 90 percent of people living with HIV know their status including those who are not comfortable with getting tested at health facilities.
“Some people find it easier to self-test for HIV before acquiring courage to get tested at a health center or by other individuals.
“We still encourage such people to confirm the results of the tests with health professionals through another test,” Dr. Ncheengamwa said.
Dr. Ncheengamwa called on members of the public not be afraid to use self-test kits to know their status as the kits have some counselling message on them.