Younger and less educated people are underrepresented in the Switzerland-wide program to prevent new HIV infections. The reason is likely to be the cost of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which you have to pay for yourself.
The drug, which protects against HIV infection, is too expensive for many, as the University of Zurich announced on Wednesday. The PrEP drug “Tenofovir / Emtricitabine” approved in Switzerland costs 600 francs per month.
The aim of the SwissPrEPared program is to provide the best possible care for people with an increased risk of HIV infection and to prevent new infections. Over 4,000 people from twelve cantons are now taking part. An initial evaluation of around 1,000 study participants, which was published in the journal “HIV Medicine”, showed that the average age is 40 years, and 95 percent are men who have sex with other men. Almost half have a university degree (47 percent) and are in a “comfortable financial situation” (51 percent).
In order to lower the hurdles for the risk groups not previously represented in the study, it is necessary that PrEP can be obtained nationally free of charge, said the infectiologist Jan Fehr from the University of Zurich according to the announcement. This is already the case in other European countries.
In the canton of Zurich, funding is already being used as part of a pilot project to offer free PrEP consultations to people under the age of 25. Other cantons are also planning similar projects, the message said.