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HIV Prevention – Switzerland has a difficult time with the culture of "pills before"



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"Prep" can help homosexuals in preventing HIV. In Switzerland it is much more expensive than abroad.

In homosexual men, the prevention of condom HIV does not work in many cases. They can be helped by "prep" – "pills before" which protects against infections. It now begins in Switzerland program with "Prep".

In Switzerland, it is estimated that 1,000 men rely on "prep": a small blue pill taken before sexual intercourse to prevent HIV infection. "Prep" refers to pre-exposure prophylaxis.

Why these people do not just practice condom sex, Jan Fehr, a preventative physician at the Zurich University Hospital, explains, "There are people who can not handle the condom, those who have the highest risk of HIV infection."

Fehr is the leader of a new program that starts these days in clinics across Switzerland. The program relies on the prep. Prophylaxis.

The effect is confirmed abroad

The pill prevents the infection almost as reliably as a condom. Studies in a few countries have proved this right.

In Australia, for example, HIV infections fell by a quarter throughout the country after 3,700 homosexual men in the survey were preparing for one year. In EU countries, male infections with males fell by the fifth of 2015, thanks to Prep, experts say.

So it is high time that Jan Fehr prepares Prep in Switzerland: "The overall goal is to control the HIV situation and prevent new infections."

Included in the program are the Swiss University Hospital, as well as the so-called " control points, Link opens in a new window – Health centers for men who have sex with men.

Switzerland has a prep problem

Critically skeptics criticize, it is difficult to see why the drug should be better than proven tire. For example, the Swiss Positive Panel considers this to be a different issue and is a concern for HIV-positive people.

President David Haerry, an AIDS activist in the first person, says: "In preventing it, it's important to be with people and use any means that works and scientifically based."

However, prep strategy in this country has catch. Although the drug – officially called Truvada – for many years on the market for HIV treatment, is not approved for prevention in Switzerland.

Some doctors prescribe the Truvada off-label, but over this time the pills are very expensive – 900 francs for Monatspackung. Who is on Prep, usually ordered on the internet cheap generic from abroad – alone.

Preparation is only available online

This is the place where program initiators start. Preventive medicine Fehr says, "Those who have not yet been regulated online simply need to get a chance to get medical help."

Consultations include not only counseling, but also regular testing of HIV and other infectious diseases. Even fears need to be solved.

David Haerry of the Swiss Positive Panel said: "It's central not only to take Prep, but to go to the doctor and get the prescription."

However, for now prep-clients have to rely on their existing sources of supply on the Internet, even within the new program. Fehr and his colleagues hope for early drug approval.

According to Matius Sturchler, who is responsible for "HIV business" in Gilead, Gilead produced an appropriate Swisscom request in October.

According to Fehr, how much should the drug cost most? "60 francs," says the doctor. 60 francs would be willing to pay.


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