HEALTH chiefs in Gibraltar announced they would start offering a 99% effective HIV medication to those most at risk on World AIDS Day.
It formed part of a day of action on Thursday for the Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) that included raising awareness, promoting prevention and increased testing of the often stigmatised condition.
Modern science has turned what was once a death sentence into a treatable condition.
Readily available medicine allows HIV positive people to live long lives without ever developing AIDS.
The U=U campaign emphasized that if HIV is Undetectable in the blood, it is Untransmittable.
The GHA’s PrEP (pre-exposure prophlaxis) medicine now on offer is taken before sex if there is a higher risk of catching the virus.
Its Well Person Clinic will prescribe the medication to those with more chances of catching HIV after a full clinical assessment.
Even though wearing a condom is the best way to stop all sexually transmitted diseases, studies show PrEP medication can reduce HIV transmission by sex to 99%.
“I am pleased that we are now able to offer PrEP medication,” Public Health Director Helen Carter said
“This is another way, for those who are at higher risk of infection, to protect themselves.
“There is a significant research base that PrEP is safe and works for people in high risk groups.”
PrEP also reduces chances of getting the virus from used needles by 74%.
“Today on World AIDs day this is our opportunity to show our support for those who are living with HIV infection and to increase the range of services that we offer to prevent new infections,” GHA Director General Patrick Geoghegan said.
“I encourage people when appropriate to come forward and take us up on our offer as I want to keep the people of Gibraltar healthy and safe.”
Over 37 million people worldwide live with HIV, 1.7 million who are children.