PrEP in the black african community
Inequality And High Infection Rate
There is a high HIV infection rate in black African communities in the UK, therefore it’s no surprise that black African communities are those who could benefit the most from PrEP. Statistics indicate that although individuals of black African origin constitute only 2% of the UK population, this minority has the highest rate of HIV infections, standing at 34% of all HIV infections in the country.
It is argued that black African communities in the UK are disproportionately affected by HIV due to the following factors, those of which members of black African communities have continued to face for multiple decades: institutional and other types of racism, high rates of poverty and unemployment as well as other forms of disenfranchisement. Black African women especially bear the brunt of these atrocities including the HIV burden.
What these research findings demonstrate is that black African communities in the UK are not receiving the necessary information about PrEP, namely its effectiveness at preventing new HIV infections amongst the uninfected.
Research findings indicate that government-initiated awareness programs about PrEP, its use, and its effectiveness are relatively low in black African communities including minority-rich schools, churches, and public spaces. The government and other public health stakeholders are simply not doing enough to educate blackAfrican men and women about effective ways of preventing HIV through the regular use of PrEP.
To compound the situation, it seems that members of black African communities are misinformed about who should be taking PrEP in the first place. This misinformation is also contributing to the low uptake of PrEP because the at-risk individuals do not realise that they could benefit heavily from this drug.
The following people in the black African community in the UK are at the highest risk of contracting HIV, and thus stand to benefit the most when they buy PrEP and use it regularly.
- Individuals that do not use condoms regularly
- Individuals in serrodifferent or mixed status sexual relationships- this is whereby one partner has HIV
- Sex workers whose work involves anal and vaginal intercourse
- Individuals that practice unprotected anal/vaginal sex with multiple partners
- Individuals in a relationship with partners that practice unsafe sex with other people
- Individuals that are having a sexual relationship with habitual drug users especially those that inject drugs
- Individuals that have recently been diagnosed with and treated for an STD
Sadly, research indicates that uptake of PrEP in such communities is very low compared to prescriptions provided to members of communities that are not necessarily considered as high risk as the black African community. This phenomenon is being observed in nearly all countrieswith multiple racial identities, not just in the UK.
Spreading awareness about who stands to benefit the most from PrEP in the black African community will certainly go a long way in reducing rates of new infections. Awareness should not stop there. It should also encompass where to buy PrEP in the UK, how to take it to guarantee maximum protection, possible side effects and how to control them, and finally, the options available to members of this community on how to finance the purchase of these drugs.