Kristin Roman / Editor
There may be no cure for HIV, but taking one pill daily could help lower one’s chance of becoming infected. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is for individuals who do not have the disease but have a high risk of contracting it; it is strictly a preventative and “sold under the name Truvada.” According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “when someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection.” This medication, if taken daily, has been proven to “reduce the risk of HIV infection” by 92%; it “was approved by the FDA in 2012.”
Another medication, Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), tackles another scenario. PEP is “an option for someone who thinks they’ve recently been exposed to HIV.” The individual will have to take “antiretroviral medicines” in order to “prevent becoming infected.” It must be taken “within 72 hours of possible exposure” and will be taken “once or twice daily for 28 days.”
As word spreads about these possibly lifesaving medications, the stigmas begin to form. The main concern that some people have is that they believe these medications will encourage people “to engage in risky behavior.” Mr. Albert Liu, the “research director of the HIV prevention program at the San Francisco Department of Public Health,” explained in a BuzzFeed article that there are no studies or evidence that prove this concern is true. Liu also explains that by having these pills available, people who normally wouldn’t regularly see a healthcare provider now come to clinics “every three months” to get tested for HIV.
HIV is a serious disease that should be taken seriously; just last year 6,721 people died due to HIV. Take precautions to stay safe and remain protected. If you’re interested in this medication, make an appointment with your healthcare provider; PrEP can only be prescribed through a doctor. To learn more visit https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/prep.html or http://whatisprep.org/ for more information.