MYDAWA launches online telehealth platform for HIV prevention

KENYA – E-pharmacy startup MYDAWA has launched a telehealth solution tailored to HIV prevention with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The end-to-end virtual healthcare solution gives customers access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) online.

The product was developed through a US$1.2 million funding support from  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in partnership with the University of Washington, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Fred Hutch Cancer Research Centre, Jhpiego and Audere.

PrEP is a medicine that can be proactively taken daily by people who are at ongoing risk of acquiring HIV. PEP is a medicine that can be taken by people immediately after possibly being exposed to HIV to reduce the risk of getting HIV.

The grant awarded to MYDAWA by the Gates Foundation to launch the service aims to generate evidence on virtual PrEP and PEP service delivery.

Founded in 2017, MYDAWA enables consumers to conveniently purchase authentic high-quality medicines, health and wellness products through partnerships with healthcare practitioners and suppliers.

According to MYDAWA, approximately 38 million people worldwide are living with HIV, with close to 21 million in Eastern and Southern Africa.

“This is particularly apparent among populations who are vulnerable to stigma such as men who have sex with men, and female sex workers,” according My Dawa.

“This challenging environment in tackling HIV facilitated the search for a different approach to PrEP initiation through online channels that are more discrete.”

Rampant cases of stigmatization of people living with HIV lead to low visits to healthcare facilities where they can get help.

The service has received research approval from the Kenya Medical Research Institute and the University of Washington.

“This grant is an endorsement of MYDAWA’s ability and the crucial role the company is playing at the forefront of providing access to simple and affordable self-tests for HIV and pregnancy, alongside an extensive range of sexual and reproductive health products,” the company said in a statement.

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