There is a naivety among many HIV prevention researchers and advocates about the steps needed to introduce and implement new HIV prevention technologies such as oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), vaginal rings and vaccines, according to speakers at the HIV Research for Prevention (HIVR4P 2016) conference in Chicago last week. Developing an effective prevention method is the easy part, they suggested – ensuring the product reaches end users can be more challenging.
Although conferences tend to pay little attention to well-established prevention interventions such as male circumcision, female condoms and programmes to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), there are lessons to be learnt from their implementation, speakers said.
In each case, concerted efforts, marketing insights and functional health systems have been required to bring the interventions to scale. When these have been absent, coverage has been limited.