Adolescent girls and young women remain at disproportionately high risk of HIV infection in Sub-Saharan Africa. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an effective biomedical tool to prevent HIV infection but uptake and continued use by key risk groups such as adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) and men who have sex with men (MSM), has so far been disappointing in South Africa.
The Desmond Tutu Health Foundation designed an implementation project, FastPrEP, which uses an innovative differentiated approach to roll out and scale PrEP to AGYW, their partners, and young MSM.
FastPrEP is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and is being implemented in the Klipfontein-Mitchells Plain Health Sub-district in Cape Town. The project is implemented using a ‘hub and spokes’ framework, where the mobile clinics serve as the “hub” and a combination of local government clinics, Kwik Depots, youth clubs, courier delivery, and private independent pharmacies as the “spokes”. Through the FastPrEP project, we aim to make PrEP more accessible while creating demand for PrEP uptake.
“When we talk about mobile services as a whole, I think it’s a good initiative especially for the youth in our communities who feel that the services in the public clinics are not tailored to their needs. Instead of people having to go to clinics, we are coming to them. This is the future!”
– Lwazi Thambi, HCT Counsellor, Mobile team.
We will evaluate the impact of our differentiated approach on PrEP uptake and adherence, as well as determine preferred access points, which will inform future national rollout approaches. The project will result in a working, costed model that will be recommended to National Department of Health, with significant potential to improve the uptake of PrEP in South Africa.
The Fast PrEP team was excited to receive their brand new, kitted out mobile clinics, complete with the new FastPrEP logo, and are currently operating in the Greater Athlone Health District. The trucks are sturdy and built to operate in field, with modern features that include hygienic ablution facilities, air-conditioning and full spectrum power supply to offer our participants fast and efficient service. The trailer units are independently powered to allow easy access to multiple locations in the district.
“The new mobile has everything that we need. They are excellent. The branding is brighter, which we hope will attract participants”
– Nothemba Ndevu, Nurse, Mobile team.
If you or someone you know would like to join the Fast PrEP project, or just learn more about the services we offer and how you can get on PrEP, please contact Desmond Raqa on 072 470 8500.