HIV Prevention Pills: Are You Aware of PrEP and PEP?
HIV prevention pills which are PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) and PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) are basically drugs that are currently common in any health facility.
Therefore, PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a preventive antiretroviral therapy we offer or prescribe to those at risk of contracting the HIV virus.
Specifically, if you are in a discordant relationship i.e. one partner is HIV positive, first you will need these HIV prevention pills-PEP. A clinician or nurse will ask you to test for HIV because you cannot do prevention when infection is already there.
Later, the health provider will prescribe PEP (if you turn negative) for 4 weeks accordingly.
Afterwards, you will need a retest before PrEP is offered to you in case you have a positive partner. Make sure you discuss with your sexual partner about these HIV prevention pills for your own benefits.
As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure!”
In addition, you might be working in a high risk environment like the jua kali people.
As Kenyans, we all know these hardworking people deal with sharp objects like mabati (iron sheets), nails e.t.c. If you are in this kind of risk, you might need these HIV prevention pills (PrEP and PEP).
However, make sure you seek medical advice from a certified clinician in this case.
More so, don’t forget to ask questions relevant to these HIV prevention pills e.g. defaulting, side effects e.t.c
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What about PEP as a HIV Prevention pill?
However, PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) is a prescription of antiretroviral pills responsible for preventing you from a recent exposure to the HIV virus.
A good example is of condom burst. Therefore, in this case, you will need to visit a clinician so as to receive your HIV prevention therapy.
Before you receive your PEP pills, the clinician will refer you for HIV test. This is for identification purposes since it cannot prevent one who is already with the virus.
Protocol for PEP
- Once exposed to the HIV/AIDS virus, visit a clinician in a health facility offering HIV Testing and Care Services near you before 72 hours elapse!
- Get tested for HIV.
- If you turn negative, your tester will refer you to the CCC (Comprehensive Care Clinic) for the HIV prevention pills-PEP.
- You will take it for 4 weeks as per requirement i.e. 1 month. This is because the tablets are 30 in number.
- On your last tablet, you will have to visit the health facility for your HIV retest. Hopefully, you will turn NEGATIVE.
- If so then, the HTS Provider or Laboratory technician will advise you to test for HIV on the regular basis i.e. every 12 months after previous test unless there is a risk. This is according to the National guidelines on HIV testing services.
Any side effects of These HIV Prevention pills (PrEP and PEP)?
Well, every drug has its side effects as most of us know. The ones for this prophylaxis could be yellow eyes (like jaundice), rashes just to mention a few.
However, they don’t last because the moment you complete your HIV prevention pills, they disappear. If not, please see the doctor or other certified health professionals.
Mmaka Abbas. (2020). Jamii-Health Blogger & Community Health Officer/Health Counselor. Mombasa County. Kenya. https://jamii-health.co.ke/