According to Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 38 million people are living with HIV in the world, with more than half of them are in Africa.
HIV- a dreaded disease that has no cure or vaccine since inception, is on a verge to destroy the very existence of mankind, as seen by the numbers of death recorded from 1980 to 2005
In a world, where little is known on preventive measures to caution the spread of the scourge, medical science has developed a technology, to stop infection even after exposure.
In this article, we will tell you what is pep, people that can take pep, where to get pep, how to take pep, the effectiveness of pep, the side effect of pep, adherence to pep, testing after the course of pep
What then is PEP? PEP all so known as Post Exposure Prophylaxis- This is same drugs hiv positive people take to suppress their hiv. Pep is a drug in pill form taken immediately after an occupational or non- occupational exposure to HIV.
By occupational exposure we meant, exposure to HIV by health workers who may accidentally contract HIV from positive patients. While the non-occupational exposure is one done by sex workers or drug use. But pep, taking correctly can stop infection by 90%.
Who are allege-able to take PEP?
Those allege-able to take pep are people who are hiv negative but exposed to hiv via;
- Having condom-less sex or sex without condom, where the partners don’t know there hiv status
- Where condom broke during sex
- When needle stick (syringe) with blood pricks you
- Foreign blood contact with your blood during accident scene.
- Or any other behavior associated with high risk including rape
It is mandatory to speak to your doctor in regard with the aforementioned for more details on who is allegeable to take pep.
How can PEP be taken? Pep is in pill form and should be taken as soon as you are exposed to hiv, ideally within few hours after occupational or non-occupational exposure but certainly within 72 hours (3 days) of exposure. The earlier you state pep, the more effective to stop hiv infection in your body.
PEP must be taken for 28 days (four weeks) for it to work, 28 days is a guide line set by Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with scientific backed evidence.
How effective is PEP?
Pep is very effective in stopping hiv infection if started on time, presumably within 72 hours according to CDC.
This medical technology has been tested on primates (monkey) who are closely related to human being in terms of blood and body formulation.
Animal Studies on Pep
Some monkeys were infected with hiv and within 72 hours of exposure were placed on pep for 28 days, none of these monkeys became infected or sero-converted to hiv.
Meanwhile in similar studies some monkeys were placed on pep for less than 28 days, all of them sero- converted (became hiv positive).
Human Studies on Pep
712 healthcare givers in Europe who used pep for 28 days after being exposed to hiv in their places of work were 81% less likely to become infected. Also read https://myeduproject.com.ng/the-plight-of-internal-displace-persons-a-call-for-help
The rationale behind this is that, pep must be taken within 72 hours of exposure and continued for 28 days.
Exposed to HIV? Post-Exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is Here For You
Side effect of PEP, just like other drugs with side effects, pep has its own side effects ranging from nausea, vomiting, and dizziness, fatigue, headache, feeling sick, Kidney problem night mares and many more.
These side effects are temporally, they go away within days, and one must speak to a doctor if these side effects persist
Adherence to PEP: It becomes very difficult to adhere to pep due to its side effects, for PEP to work effectively, adherence is a key factor.
Pep must be taken at the right time, every day for 28days for it to work effectively. It is also important to give yourself rest while on pep.
Accessing PEP: Some high risk persons are not aware of the existence of pep, people at risk must know that ‘’time is of the essence’’ the earlier you start pep, the better your chances of staying negative.
People at risk need to know how to access pep; this drug must be a doctor’s prescription, as soon as possible in Sexual Health Clinics, Hospitals, emergency rooms, Pharmacies etc
Before accessing pep, test must be conducted and a person must be negative in status. Remember pep is not a cure to hiv but a preventive measure against the disease.
Testing after the course of pep: After 28days on pep, you must avail yourself for test after 90 days (3 months) of exposure, to see if pep had worked. Risky behaviors while on pep may not give pep the best chance to work