HIV PEP, or HIV Post Exposure Prophylaxis, is a medication that is to be taken immediately after potential exposure to HIV, to prevent becoming fully infected with the virus.
In other words, PEP is a series of drugs that will prevent replication of the HIV virus long enough for your body to clear it.
The medication is offered in all hospital A&E departments, and at almost every STD clinic in. Here are some possible questions you might have about this antiretroviral medicine.
When I am taking PEP, how often will I have to take the medication?
If you’re prescribed PEP, you need to take it once or twice every day for a month, or 28 days. You must complete the entire course as the drugs do not actually kill the virus; they only stop it from replicating and eventually allows your immune system to clear the virus on its own.
After the 28 days, you should go to an HIV testing clinic to ascertain your status, then once more after three months. Speak to your doctor about the schedule for testing when you are prescribed with PEP.
What are some possible effects of taking PEP?
As taking PEP does change the body’s chemical balance, there are some possible but mild side effects, such as feeling nauseous, experiencing headaches and backaches, diarrhoea and mood swings. Not all of these side effects will take place over the course of taking PEP, but it is normal to experience a small portion of this list. Taking PEP is otherwise completely harmless.
Can I take PEP again after I have finished one course?
It is recommended that you do not take PEP often, as it does tend to lose its effectiveness after multiple courses. Use PEP only in an emergency situation. Instead, use condoms as a form of protection against potential HIV infections. Prevention is better than cure.
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