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New medicine for prevention of HIV/AIDS introduced

By Our Correspondent
October 15, 2022

LAHORE: The Punjab AIDS Control Programme formally introduced a new medicine for prevention of HIV/AIDS here on Friday.

The medicine was introduced as part of Pre Exposure Prophylaxis Programme (PrEP) and will help to stop the transmission of HIV/AIDS virus from one person to another.

The PrEP was launched in a ceremony organised by the Punjab AIDS Control Programme here at a local hotel. Additional Secretary Vertical Programmes Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Asim Raza was chief guest of the ceremony while keynote speakers included Programme Director PACP Dr Awais Gohar, representative of World Health Organisation Dr Irfan, Representative UNDP Ms Heather Doyle and Representative of UNAIDS Dr Rajwal.

Dr Awais Gohar said that the launch of the PrEP was an important milestone for Punjab. He said, “PrEP will be extremely useful in healthcare settings. Healthcare staff engaged in complex surgeries of HIV/AIDS patients shall greatly benefit from this initiative. The medicine will be available free-of-cost at all centres of the Punjab AIDS Control Programme.” Dr Awais said that Post Exposure Prophylaxis medicines were already available to healthcare workers in case of accidental pricks. Now PrEP will reduce the risk of virus transmission for those intending to perform surgical procedures.

Dr Rajwal said that due to advancement in research, new developments were taking place in the field of medicine every day. The introduction of PrEP will prove to be very important in stopping the spread of the disease. Although there is no vaccine available for HIV/AIDS, there are effective medicines available by use of which a patient can lead a normal life.

Treatment Co-ordinator PACP Dr Atif said that HIV/AIDS virus transmits through blood and body fluids. This medicine will save people at greater risk of contracting the virus. WHO expert on infectious diseases Dr Irfan welcomed the introduction of PrEP and assured full support to the Punjab government from the WHO.

Asim Raza said that prevention through awareness was the most effective strategy to stop the spread of infectious diseases. He said that everyone must play his part in saving human lives. He paid rich tribute to the medical staff treating HIV/AIDS patients. He said that the government was providing free counselling, testing and treatment facilities to more than 17,000 patients in the province. He further said that medicines availability was being ensured in all districts of the province.