Stories of Change - SRC PrEP Champions
Updated: Jun 12, 2020
The Sexual Rights Centre prides itself in championing sexual and reproductive health rights in Zimbabwe. In the work that is done, stories of change, case studies from our community members have been used for motivation and for inspiration.
“I learnt a lot of things about PrEP, most of which I had no idea about. I never really understood the positive impact of taking PrEP when everyone else talked about the terrifying side effects. I am glad I took part in this training, now I know better…” MSM Enhanced Peer Mobiliser
The SRC supported the attendance of 4 MSM participants at the PrEP training workshop held in Johannesburg. They were part of participants from Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya and South Africa. The main focus of the training was on improving the uptake of PrEP in the continent, a comprehensive approach to cover a wide range of issues was successfully used, most of the knowledge was shared through robust conversation on topical health issues affecting the target population (MSM) and these included: community empowerment in programming, positive sexual health, normative guidance and combination prevention.
Empowering discussions on challenges faced by participation countries in regards to PrEP accesses were also discussed and the most notable barrier was criminalization of same sex relations in most of the African countries and the stigma and discrimination that is often associated with individuals who take PrEP. The highlight to me of such a discussion was that PrEP users are often viewed as individuals who want to promote unprotected sex hence its introduction in countries like Ghana and Cameroon has been slow and almost rejected by policy makers and the community which still subscribe to traditional preventative methods like condoms.
For countries like Zimbabwe, access to PrEP is centralised to urban areas more than the rural areas, and there is need to scale up PrEP availability. There is also need to scale up demand creation for PrEP among the MSM community and advocate for the availability for PrEP on demand.