LUSAKA – Today, February 9, the United States government delivered to Zambia the first shipment of injectable pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medicine for HIV prevention, making Zambia the second country in the world (after the United States) to offer injectable PrEP outside of a study setting. Injectable PrEP is a safe and effective HIV prevention tool that provides clients with two months of HIV protection between injections.
This donation of 14,850 vials of injectable PrEP – called Cabotegravir Long Acting (CAB-LA) – to Zambia’s Ministry of Health will protect 2,000 Zambians against HIV for one year. CAB-LA is a new HIV prevention method and the Ministry of Health is ensuring equitable access to both urban and rural populations in Zambia.
Honorable Minister of Health, Sylvia Masebo, attended the event and said, “The impact of this donation extends beyond the vials received today; it represents hope, progress, and a collective determination to create a healthier and brighter future for the people of Zambia.” The event took place at Mwanjuni Health Post, a facility in Chibombo district which is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Representing the U.S. government at the event, Country Chair for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Ryan Phelps said, “It is important that the people at risk of acquiring HIV can choose the HIV prevention method that works best for them and fits into their lifestyle. For those who have trouble taking a pill every day to prevent HIV, this long acting injectable may be a more manageable option.” Through this donation of injectable PrEP, the U.S. and Zambia governments are expanding HIV prevention options for all.
The U.S. government is the largest donor to Zambia’s health sector, providing services to more than 15 million Zambians, and provides roughly one in every three-kwacha spent nationally on public healthcare.
Through six U.S. government agencies, PEPFAR partners with the Government of Zambia on the national HIV response through a broad range of services in HIV prevention, care, and treatment. Over the past ten years PEPFAR has helped to reduce HIV incidence in Zambia from 72,000 new infections per year to 33,000 per year due to the scale up of HIV prevention interventions like PrEP. Just last year alone, nearly 275,000 individuals were initiated on PrEP, with more than 114,000 being adolescents and young people aged 15-24.