The International Treatment Preparedness Coalition is proud to announce the release of the Key Population Activist Toolkit on PrEP, developed to equip community activists with the knowledge and skills they need to demand pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
Why an Activist Toolkit on PrEP?
While the rate of new HIV infections among adults globally remains the same, rates have risen in many parts of world and in certain populations. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that oral PrEP be offered to people who are HIV negative and at increased risk of HIV infection, in addition to and in combination with other HIV prevention services, such as condoms, male circumcision, antiretrovirals (ARVs) for people living with HIV (PLHIV) and drug harm reduction services.
People who need PrEP have a right to access it as a human right to health. Governments have a duty to progressively enable access to PrEP for those in need. According to the standards of health rights, PrEP should be progressively made available, affordable and accessible, and be offered in a manner that is appropriate to the needs and responsive to the concerns of the communities to which it is delivered.
To this end, community demand for PrEP is essential for enabling access. Community-led demand efforts, whether PrEP services are widely available or not at all, can influence the success of PrEP programming, including influencing how accessible PrEP services are to the community, whether people actually choose to take PrEP, and whether these services are being offered in a way that is suited to the needs of PrEP users.
The Toolkit aims to:
- Equip community activists with the knowledge and skills that they need around PrEP, advocacy, and community mobilization so that they are able to mobilize their communities to demand PrEP
- To enable community PrEP activists to advocate with their governments and service providers to allow key populations access to PrEP services
- To ensure that these services are provided in a manner that is affordable, appropriate to their needs, and addresses access barriers.
How was the Toolkit developed?
Supported by the USAID- and PEPFAR-funded LINKAGES project and M∙A∙C AIDS Fund, the toolkit builds upon the foundation laid by the Community-led Consultative Think Tank Meeting on Access to and Use of PrEP hosted by ITPC last year. This consultative process brought together civil society, key populations and technical expert groups in open discussions focused on key considerations of PrEP implementation across key population groups, and the development of national strategies to create better access to PrEP for communities.
The outcome of this process included an in-depth literature review, consultative meeting report, and global position statement outlining key considerations for community-led demand creation for PrEP among key populations.
Who is the Toolkit for?
The toolkit is intended for individuals, organizations and networks – particularly those representing key populations – wanting to:
- Learn more about PrEP
- Contribute to preventing the spread of HIV in
- their communities
- Gain the knowledge and skills that they need to mobilize their communities and advocate with community leaders and decision makers for access to PrEP.
The toolkit is designed to be used by a trainer to train others in a participatory learning environment, but can be adapted in other contexts.
Workshops on PrEP hosted in Mexico (left) and India (right) by ITPC LATCA and ITPC South Asia, respectively.
ITPC’s work has uncovered glaring gaps along the HIV treatment cascade — pointing to on-going needs of people living with HIV in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean. In the context of our overall work on treatment access, it has become clear that discussions about PrEP must be better integrated into issues related to treatment access. “Treatment as prevention” and similar frameworks reinforce that all steps of the cascade are linked and should be treated as such. As an extension of our existing work in community-led advocacy for HIV treatment, ITPC will continue leading community-led consultative processes on PrEP and, where relevant, its rollout and implementation.
ITPC also looks forward to launching the Key Population Activist Toolkit on PrEP in French and Spanish in March 2018.