Alongside notable breakthroughs in the HIV/AIDS prevention spectrum was the invention of PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) which is a combination of HIV drugs (tenofovir, emtricitabine, and dolutegravir or raltegravir) that is taken as soon as there is a possible exposure to HIV to prevent the virus from taking hold in your body. PEP is most effective when started within 24 hours, but is is vital that it be commenced at most, within 72 hours following the possible exposure. After 72 hours, PEP is usually not given as research has shown that it is unlikely to be efficacious. PEP is usually taken once or twice a day for 28 days.
Even while you are on PEP, it is nevertheless still vital that you use your condoms during sex to reduce your chances of coming in contact with HIV again, or if you have the virus, that you’ll spread it.
PEP may help:
(1) People who think they might have been exposed to HIV during sex.
(2) People who have been sexually assaulted.
(3) Drug users who have recently shared needles or other related items.
(4) Health workers who think they’ve been exposed to HIV on the job.
After completing the prescription, you’ll need to undergo another HIV test to affirm that you do not have the virus.
PEP is however only for emergencies. It should not be substituted for safe sex or sterilized needles. If you are exposed to HIV a lot ie. having multiple sex partners, its best to see a doctor about using PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). These are drugs that are used before engaging in a risky behavior which could predispose you to contracting HIV.
Side effects of PEP include:
(1) Upset Stomach (ii) Fatigue (iii) Headache (iv) Diarrhea (v) Insomnia. In rare cases, PEP can cause serious health issues, including liver problems.
Just like every other medication, PEP is not to be self-diagnosed. It is best to see a doctor or another qualified medical practitioner to certify your eligibility and monitor you as you use the drugs.
While PEP exists and is effective, it should be treated as the exception, not the norm. Let condoms, PrEP and lubricants be your body armor as you engage in risky behaviors which could make you susceptible to contracting HIV.
Nevertheless PEP is no medicine after death, as although you might have contracted the virus, the drug can stop the virus as it tries to infection you. However this is only possible if you take the drugs within the stipulated time-frame (72 hours) and you adhere to your prescriptions at the right dosage and at the same time daily (for 28 days).
Hope you had an enjoyable read!!!