Preventing HIV in adolescent girls and young women

Unitaid-Preventing HIV in adolescent girls and young women

Include HIV drugs as a preventive measure for those at high risk


In South Africa, about 1,745 HIV infections occur in women in their early 20s every week, quadruple that of their male peers.


People at high risk of contracting HIV can block the virus by taking daily ARV drugs, a treatment known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP can reduce the risk of HIV infection by more than 90 percent. Making PrEP accessible to groups at highest risk for HIV is part of a global strategy to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“At scale, this project is expected to avert 3,000 HIV infections a year and save nearly US$ 20 million, the difference between the cost of PrEP and that of adhering to HIV treatment for a lifetime.”

Lelio Marmora, executive director, Unitaid

The project has been expanded to also include Lonf Acting PrEP products.

The impact we are seeking

Starting January 2018, the three-year project will be integrated into the South Africa Department of Health’s She Conquers campaign, which works with adolescent girls and young women to reduce HIV incidence, gender-based violence, teenage pregnancy, school drop-out rates and youth unemployment, with a focus on prioritized districts. The project will develop, implement and test various strategies to reach the adolescent girls and women who are at high risk of contracting HIV, create demand for and improve linkages to PrEP services; and support retention in care and adherence.

Progress so far

The PrEP portfolio, including the Fiotec project, has generated an evidence base for successfully addressing the needs of underserved populations contributing to advancing equity in access to oral daily PrEP as a viable choice through diversified channels and delivery models. It has generated operational evidence to contribute to scale-up in targeted countries and to raising awareness around PrEP in some neighbouring countries in LAC and Africa and in the Asia Pacific region. Globally, the projects contributed to WHO-generated policy, guidelines and protocol development/updates through research generated, development of case studies and collaboration on WHO development committees.

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