You must have heard the term HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). Well, today HIV diagnosis is no longer as bleak as it once was. Many people living with HIV are able to enjoy happier, longer, and healthier lives. The only sure method to find out whether you have HIV is to be tested. After 18 to 45 days of exposure, HIV infection can be detected.
However, PEP or Post-Exposure Prophylaxis is a short course of HIV medicines taken very soon after a possible exposure to HIV to prevent the virus from taking hold in your body. You must start it within 72 hours after a possible exposure to HIV, otherwise, it won’t work. Every hour counts!
HIV PEP should only be used in life-threatening conditions. It is not intended for long-term usage by those who are often exposed to HIV.
Who is eligible for PEP?
PEP is intended for persons who may have been exposed to HIV during the past three days. PEP may be appropriate for you if you meet the following criteria:
- You had intercourse with someone who could be HIV-positive and did not wear a condom, or the condom broke.
- You were sexually abused.
- You exchanged needles or items (such as cotton, pots, or water) with someone who may have HIV.
For PEP to function, you must begin it as soon as possible after being exposed to HIV.
How well does PEP work?
PEP is effective in preventing HIV infection when it is taken correctly, but it is not 100% effective. The earlier PEP is initiated following a suspected HIV exposure, the better. It is critical to continue utilizing other HIV preventive strategies while taking PEP.
Does PEP cause side effects?
Some persons may experience negative effects from the HIV medications used during PEP. The negative effects are treatable and do not pose a threat to one’s life. If you are using PEP, talk to your doctor if you have any side effects that annoy you or do not go away.
Test for HIV after using PEP to ensure that the therapy was effective. Three months after the exposure, and again six months later, conduct an HIV test.