Govt. launches a new ARV drug for HIV negative people and innovative HIV Self Testing to revitalize HIV prevention


NAIROBI, Kenya, May 5, 2017   – The Ministry of Health has launched a historical Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and innovative HIV Self Testing to revitalize HIV prevention in Kenya.

PrEP is a pill taken once daily by HIV negative persons at high risk of HIV such as negative partners in discordant relationships, individuals with history of recurrent or frequent STIs or condom bursts and people with multiple sexual partners among others, who are at a continous ongoing risk of being infected.

“If you perceive yourself to be at high risk of HIV, visit a health provider near you and ask about PrEP,” the Director of Medical Services, Dr. Jackson Kioko announced during the launch of PrEP and Self Testing on Thursday.

Kenya now becomes the first Country to launch Self testing and a second country in Africa, after, South Africa, to officially roll out Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

“Our goal is to reduce new HIV infections by 75%, reducing AIDS related mortality by 25% and HIV related stigma and discrimination by 50% by 2019,” said Dr. Kioko.

To achieve these targets, we must fully adopt the 90-90-90 strategy that seeks to have 90% of HIV infected persons know their HIV status, 90% of these receive antiretroviral therapy and at least 90% achieve viral suppression  among those on ART, he re-emphasized.

Dr, Kioko revealed that the launch of Self testing will help in reaching the over 400,000 People Living with HIV who are out there and do not know that they are HIV infected, many of them being men, adolescents and the youth.

“From today, we will now be offering HIV self-testing, where persons willing to know their HIV status in privacy, collects their own specimen, either oral fluid or blood and then perform the test through simple steps and then interprets the result, either alone or with someone they trust,” Dr. Kioko said.

PrEP will be provided for free in selected health outlets and facilities but if one wishes to purchase then it will cost them about Ksh 3600 per month.

The DMS highlighted that the HIV self test will initially be available in the private sector at a cost of between Ksh 850-950 but the Ministry of Health will work to make self testing available in the public sector for free in the near future.