What Is PEP?
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What Is PEP?

PEP is the abbreviation for Post-exposure prophylaxis. It is the course of HIV medication that is prescribed to the person infected with this deadly virus. The medications are given soon after the person gets the infection. PEP medicines prevent the virus from damaging the immune system.

The treatment must be started within 72 hours of exposure to HIV infection. If given late, the medicines do not provide desired effects. They fail to work and the virus keeps on damaging the immune system of the infected person.

PEP is an emergency treatment. It must not be taken regularly.

How Do I Know If I Need PEP?

It is your health-care professional who decides whether you need PEP or not. If you think you have recently got infected with the virus, you must immediately visit your doctor and seek emergency treatment. The doctor may prescribe you these emergency medications if you are HIV negative or are not aware of our HIV status.

If in the last 72 hours you have been exposed to any of the following listed things, you may have got the infection.

  • If you have had unprotected sex
  • If you had a condom break while in the act that may have exposed you to HIV
  • If you were sexually assaulted
  • If you have shared a needle

In any of these instances, you must visit the health-care professional without any delay. The professional will decide whether or not, you need PEP.

How Long Do I Need to Take PEP?

The treatment has to be taken for 28 days. You will have to visit your doctor timely while taking PEP and after completing the treatment as well. He will conduct HIV testing and other tests to ensure that you are healthy.

How Well Does PEP Work?

If you begin the treatment on time and take your medications regularly, the treatment will surely prevent HIV infection but, you must also know that it is not 100 percent effective.

There are many other things that you must also keep in mind while taking the treatment. You must use condoms while having sex. You must make sure to use new and sterile needles every time while injecting drugs.

Does PEP Cause Side Effects?

Every medication comes with some side-effects. These medications too can cause side-effects. But these side-effects are not serious and can be treated.

If you are experiencing any side-effect while taking the treatment that doesn�t go away, you must talk about it to your doctor.

Drug interaction is also an issue with PEP medications. Hence, if you are on other medicines, you must tell it to your doctor before taking PEP medications.

Can I Take PEP Every Time I Have Unprotected Sex?

As already said, PEP is meant for emergency situation and so, you cannot take PEP every time after having unprotected sex. These medications are not meant for regular use. If you fear to get infected, you should use other preventive measures for HIV. You can talk to your doctor about PrEP.