Mr Ahmed Ibrahim Bambila, the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regional Coordinator of the Ghana Aids Commission, has advised the citizens to utilise Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) for protection against HIV.
According to him, PrEP is a medication that acts like a vaccine to prevent HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infections and is most recommended for a discordant couple.
“Where a partner is a carrier of the HIV and the other is negative by using the PrEP the one who is negative would not be infected’, he explained.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Sunyani about HIV preventive measures, Mr Bambila lamented ”people are not utilising the PrEP service even though it is free” and encouraged such couples to visit the hospital to be placed on the PrEP’.
”In case you are in a relationship and not sure of the status of your partner, you can go for PrEP because it serves as a vaccine and protects you from getting infected with HIV,” he cited.
Touching on the PEP, Mr Bambila explained it was a medication that stops HIV infection after unprotected intercourse, but, clients must be placed on the PEP within 72 hours after the sexual act because exceeding that period the medication would not be effective, he added.
After taking the PEP within 72 hours, the client must take the medication for additional 28 days if the partner was HIV positive to ensure total protection from the virus, Mr. Bambila said.
Concerning the issue of low patronage and the public attitude towards testing to know their HIV status, he said, ”people are not testing because they don’t appreciate the benefits of testing, but to protect and prevent oneself from HIV, one need to know one’s status”.
Mr. Bambila said, “after knowing your status you are in a better position to protect yourself from being infected if you tested negative,” but “if you tested positive you would be put on medication to reduce your viral level to undetectable level so that you would not be able to transmit the virus”, he added.