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PrEP & PEP: Ways to Take Action to Treat & Mitigate HIV Exposure

PrEP & PEP: Ways to Take Action to Treat & Mitigate HIV Exposure

In the ongoing battle against HIV, preventative measures are crucial. Two significant players in this fight are PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis). Both are medications aimed at reducing the risk of HIV transmission, whether through sexual contact or injection drug use.

PrEP: Proactive Prevention

PrEP, as outlined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), involves taking medication consistently to prevent HIV infection before potential exposure. It’s a proactive approach that has shown remarkable effectiveness in reducing the risk of HIV acquisition. The regimen typically involves taking a daily pill containing two antiretroviral drugs, tenofovir and emtricitabine. However, recent developments have also introduced alternative dosing strategies, such as “on-demand” PrEP, which involves taking the medication before and after sex.

PEP: Emergency Response

In contrast, PEP, outlined by HIV.gov, is a short-term treatment taken after potential exposure to HIV. It involves taking a 28-day course of antiretroviral drugs, ideally within 72 hours of exposure. PEP is intended for emergencies, such as instances of unprotected sex or needle sharing with someone known to have HIV. However, it’s important to note that PEP is not 100% effective and should not be relied upon as a regular form of prevention.

Complementary Strategies for Prevention

Both PrEP and PEP are essential components of HIV prevention efforts, complementing other strategies like condom use, regular testing, and needle exchange programs. As highlighted by the NIH’s fact sheets on HIV preventative measures, a comprehensive approach to prevention is necessary to combat the spread of the virus effectively.

Increasing awareness about PrEP and PEP is crucial in reaching individuals who may benefit from these medications but are unaware of their existence or efficacy. By understanding the importance of these preventive measures, individuals can take proactive steps to protect themselves from HIV infection.

If you believe you’ve been exposed to HIV recently, whether through unprotected sex or needle sharing, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice promptly. PEP is most effective when started as soon as possible after exposure. Likewise, if you’re at risk of HIV but haven’t yet been exposed, consider discussing PrEP with your healthcare provider as a preventive measure.

Joining the Fight Against HIV

At Think Before You Sleep (TBYS), we are committed to providing resources and information to empower individuals to make informed decisions about their sexual health. Visit our resource page to delve deeper into PrEP, PEP, and other HIV prevention strategies. Together, let’s strive towards a future where HIV transmission is eradicated.