South Africa has approved the use of daily tablet Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV, according to an announcement from the Medicines Control Council, which regulates medicines in the country.

AVAC, a global advocacy group for HIV prevention, hopes that South Africa’s approval will speed up the rollout of PrEP. AVAC also urges other countries to approve the use of Truvada (made of tenofovir and emtricitabine) for HIV-negative people at risk for contracting the virus.

“Young women, especially, are in desperate need of new prevention options they can control,” writes AVAC in a blog statement. “While regulatory approval in South Africa should help accelerate access to oral PrEP, additional work is needed to ensure that millions of women, and men, from across the globe are able to benefit from a breakthrough that was developed expressly for them.

“To elevate this from rhetoric to on-the-ground access and impact, a coordinated, global push to secure additional regulatory approvals, mobilize funding, raise awareness, generate demand and establish systems to get PrEP into the hands of all people most likely to benefit is needed. South Africa’s experience may offer a model for other nations, but there is no reason to wait. PEPFAR, the Global Fund and other key stakeholders (including Gilead Sciences and the generic manufacturers of TDF/FTC) should be working with countries to break down barriers to PrEP access within the next year.”

To read a PDF of the Medicines Control Council announcement, click here.