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Health: Demand for pills to protect against HIV is growing strongly – Unispital reacts –



"My partner and I are HIV-negative and have taken a pill every day for more than a year to protect us from any HIV infection from sexual contact with others," said Nicolas Cavalli. The 35-year-old Stadtz├╝rcher calls himself and his partner PrEPster.

PrEP is the abbreviation for pre-exposure prophylaxis, ie prevention of risk of infection. By regularly taking a suitable drug (either the original drug Truvada or Generic), both are equally protected against HIV infection as planned, or spontaneous sexual relations with other men, "as if we used condoms," says Cavalli, [19659002] How good is the protection?

This is not a statement but scientifically proven. Daniel Koch, Head of the Division of Communicable Diseases at the Federal Public Health Institute (FOPH), writes on request: "As for PrEP, we follow the recommendation of the Swiss Federal Commission on Sexual Health from 201

6, which recommends pre-exposure prophylaxis reliable action to protect against HIV."

"It was a decision for more security, self-determination and responsibility – even to each other." Nicolas Cavalli

More formulated by Daniel Seiler, CEO of Aids Hilfe Switzerland: "Aids Aid Switzerland is responsible for a drug delivery of PrEP as HIV prohylax, as it is as safe as a condom for HIV. " There have been especially gay and bisexual men through different channels, the advantages and disadvantages of PrEP are shown. "We feel that the interest in PrEP is growing particularly strongly in this population," says Seiler. It may even be assumed that "drug protection against HIV is currently helping to reduce the number of HIV" (see information box on the right).

Pills against condoms?

But as Nicolas Cavalli first heard of the new prevention method, he was still against it. "It's as always: ignorance leads to insecurity, fear and rejection," he says. His partner and he would only decide after careful thinking and many discussions about a physician-approved provision with pills to protect against HIV.

"It was not a decision against condoms, but a decision for more security, self-determination and responsibility – also against each other," says Cavalli. Because in the past he was always tempted to do it without a condom. "Something I had regretted afterwards." Now he could live out these fantasies without fear. As a result, he was sexually freeer.

Not Without Medical Surveillance

"My experience with PrEP is good," says Cavalli. "I only had mild gastrointestinal problems at first but disappeared quickly." Other side effects were not with him. Nevertheless, he and his partner make an HIV test every three months. As the effectiveness of PrEP decreases, according to experts, when the medicine is taken irregularly. Very rare cases are also known throughout the world where HIV infection occurred despite the correct intake of PrEP – mainly due to Truvada-resistant HIV.

Cavalli and his partner also regularly check kidney and liver values. In some cases, damage to these organs has been observed as a long-term side effect. "In addition, we also investigate other venereal diseases." It is surprising that the fear that the use of PrEP could lead to more venereal diseases could not be confirmed in the major clinical PrEP studies.

It is important for him today to train other people about PrEP, says Cavalli. In this context, he recommends that you never buy and take PrEP medicines without medical supervision and support.

Large rush at the university hospital

Medical advice on PrEP questions can be obtained from the University Hospital Zurich. Benjamin Hampel, a physician at the Department of Infectious Diseases and Health Care, has been responsible for a so-called "PrEP consultation" since March last year.

"It is obvious that in Switzerland only the expensive original preparation can be purchased." Benjamin Hampel,
Unispital

"Demand for information about PrEP has been in recent months It has grown so much among gay and bisexual men that we already offer consultation three to four nights a week, saying He said: "A survey of Unispitals has shown that 20 percent of people taking PrEP in Switzerland do so without medical supervision." On the other hand, we need to do something soon ", says Hampel. Only if you regularly go to check, you can respond in time to possible side effects – which often do not give symptoms in the early days.

In addition to the side effects mentioned, PrEP also carries a risk of taking the drug and is already infected with HIV. "Then it can lead to resistance development in the virus, as the drug is not a complete HIV treatment. "

cheaper abroad

According to Hampel, more and more prescribe doctors called PrEP drugs, although these – unlike the EU – have not yet been officially approved for prophylaxis in Switzerland. It was also shocking that in this country only the expensive original preparation Truvada (monthly package costs 900 francs), but still no generic customer could buy.

A corresponding legal dispute for this is currently at the Federal Court, says Hampel. "Many people are therefore still forced to buy massively cheaper generic drugs abroad." (Zurich Regional Newspapers)

Created: 29.04.2018, 14:28


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