Advocacy and information

The CAPRISA and iPrEx results have been a bright moment in an increasingly darkening climate for the funding of HIV in general. At the time of writing, a global economic downturn is combining with policy change against single-disease, ‘vertical’ treatment programmes to create a situation in which the goal of universal global access to antiretrovirals as treatment is becoming harder to reach and may even be receding. In this situation it is understandable if advocates and affected community members question whether putting more money into biomedical prevention would mean removing money from ARV treatment.

They do not need to be competitors. We need high-quality economic modelling and forecasting to establish that HIV-prevention interventions are cost-effective – and by how much. At present, HIV biomedical research only needs a fraction of the money that global ARV provision needs in order to continue its research programme and it is important that arguments about treatment access are not used to deny prevention programmes funding they need to continue.

PrEP has, in the past, often been a source of concern and negative campaigning by HIV community organisations. However, given concerns – such as the ones expressed above – that, even if it is proven to work, PrEP may nonetheless fail to find funding and backers for its use, and spurred on by awareness of the ever-lengthening time expected for HIV-vaccine development, advocacy organisations are becoming more supportive of PrEP.

One of the fruits of this is a subsite of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC) devoted to PrEP. It features an introduction to the science of PrEP and includes links to a number of studies and presentations not covered in this summary. See www.avac.org/prep for more.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.