Brazil’s Ministry of Health will start provision of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention in crucial higher-risk population groups through 35 sites across the country, beginning on World AIDS Day, 1 December 2017.

Transwoman Alessandra Ramos at a PrEP users demo project (who)

The Ministry has estimated that in the first year, 9 000 men who have sex with men (MSM), sex workers and transgender people will be offered PrEP through Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS), Brazil’s national health service. In launching the programme, the Ministry is working with networks of MSM and transgender people to develop videos and messages to reach people who can benefit from PrEP, including those living in favelas.

As with many other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean region, Brazil’s HIV epidemic is focused on MSM and transgender women. In responding to HIV, Brazil has long been recognised for its innovative response to the HIV epidemic.

“PrEP will help to keep Brazil and our region in line with the world’s most advanced global responses to HIV. We feel confident that it will have a positive impact on reducing new infections,” said Dr Adele Benzaken, Director of the Department of STI, HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis within Brazil’s Ministry of Health.

The Brazilian programme aims to offer PrEP to 54 000 people within the next five years. Although the originator company’s product will be provided during the first year, generic medicines may potentially become available.

IMPrEP is the latest PrEP project in Brazil, Mexico and Peru. It is funded by Unitaid and will complement the implementation of PrEP under Brazil’s national programme. Both IMPrEP and the national PrEP roll-out under SUS have been working together to harmonize their work and support capacity-building across the country.

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