September 30, 2020

✪ Pharmacy delivery to expand the reach of PrEP in Africa


Katrina F. Ortblad, Peter Mogere, Elizabeth Bukusi, Kenneth Ngure, & Jared M. Baeten

University of Washington affiliated authors are displayed in bold.

✪ Open Access

Published: September 2020

Read the full text in the open access Journal of the International AIDS Society


Several African countries have recently integrated pre‐exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) into their national HIV prevention programmes and are in the process of scaling‐up healthcare facility‐based PrEP delivery. To maximize the public health benefit of PrEP, there is need to prioritize access, minimize the costs of delivery and reach HIV at‐risk populations. Major barriers to facility‐based PrEP delivery exist, including facility‐associated HIV stigma, long waiting times, the costs of staffing and providers’ unfamiliarity with delivering prevention interventions. In Africa, PrEP is also being added to public health infrastructures that are sometimes burdened by overcrowding and drug stock outs. Thus, the ability of African health systems to maximize PrEP access necessitates finding novel models of PrEP delivery.

In low‐resource settings, including a number of African settings, private pharmacies fill an important gap in the medical system and individuals often rely on and prefer the use of pharmacies over healthcare facilities to address their medical needs. Pharmacies can address care needs that are both urgent (e.g. evaluation and medication for sexually transmitted infections) and preventive (e.g. contraception) and have advantages over healthcare facilities, including increased convenience and provider engagement. Compared to providers at healthcare facilities, providers at pharmacies can often spend more time with clients because they do not have to focus on treating sick patients and build better rapport with clients because they are for‐profit businesses that rely on repeat services. In low‐resource settings, it is common for individuals to first go to a pharmacy to address a medical issue (e.g. symptoms of malaria), then only go to a healthcare facility later if the issue is not resolved.

Delivery of PrEP through pharmacies is one approach being utilized in the US to improve PrEP accessibility. In Seattle, the... [READ MORE]

**This abstract is posted with permission under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License**