UNAIDS: China’s approval of HIV drug for PrEP an important step forward in HIV prevention

Beijing, 17 August 2020 – UNAIDS lauds China’s decision to approve Truvada, an HIV medicine, for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP),  as an additional prevention choice for people at risk of HIV infection, but more work needs to be done to make it accessible and affordable for all those who need it.

“UNAIDS commends the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) of China for approving Truvada for PrEP use,” says Eamonn Murphy, UNAIDS Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific. “This is an important step in addressing what has been a critical gap in HIV prevention.”

In 2019, 98% of new infections in the Asia and the Pacific Region occurred among key populations and their sexual partners, of which 44% of new infections were among men who have sex with men. PrEP has shown significant positive results in reducing the risk of getting HIV infections through sexual transmission and is one of the five pillars of the UNAIDS global combination prevention intervention package.

It presents an additional prevention choice for people at substantial risk of HIV infection. UNAIDS Global AIDS Update 2020 report shows that more than 590,000 people received PrEP in 2019. However, global coverage is still far short of the 2020 target of putting 3 million people considered most at risk of getting HIV on PrEP.

Figures released by the China National Health Commission (NHC) show that sexual transmission is the leading cause of newly reported HIV infections and key national documents such as China’s 13th five-year action plan that addresses efforts to curb and prevent HIV and The Implementation Plan to Curb the Spread of AIDS (2019-2022) highlighted the piloting of PrEP as an important measure towards controlling new HIV infections. After completing pilot projects to provide people with temporary access to PrEP in six cities in 2018, China is now developing a strategy to implement it nationwide.  The approval of Truvada for PrEP will be essential in supporting full implementation efforts. China now joins other countries in the region such as Australia, Cambodia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam to implement PrEP.

“The next step is to scale up the PrEP implementation and ensure that it is affordable and accessible for all those who need it. UNAIDS hopes that this approval paves the way for negotiations on affordable pricing and we expect China will see the declines in new infections that we have observed in countries that have added PrEP to their HIV prevention services,” adds Eamonn Murphy, UNAIDS Regional Director.

Contact details

Wei Xiangnan, Communications and Global Advocacy Officer, UNAIDS China Office, Tel.: +86 10 8532 2226 ext. 95475, Email: weix@unaids.org

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