By Atiya Jones
The condom just broke and your partner turns over and says to you I’m HIV positive. What’s your next move? Do you: A) begin to freak out. B) Go to the kitchen and get a knife to cut your partner or C) Do you get yourself together and head to your local emergency room for something called PEP. Those of you opting for the steak knife may want to reconsider. The correct answer is B) get yourself together and head to your local emergency room for PEP.
PEP or post-exposure prophylaxis is short term HIV antiretroviral medication. Intended to be taken within 72 hours of exposure PEP has a better chance of working the sooner you take it. Made up of about four pills PEP ought to be taken for 28 days. Its purpose is to give the immune system an opportunity to provide protection against HIV and prevent it from developing in the body.
PEP is made up of the same medication given to HIV positive individuals so there are some side effect such as diarhea, headaches, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. According to Avert.org, “Some of these side effects can be quite severe and it is estimated that 1 in 5 people give up the treatment before completion.”
A study performed among healthcare workers shows that PEP is 80 % effective. Due to the seriousness and side effects PEP shouldn’t be used as the HIV morning after pill. Some of the cases PEP should be taken is if you’re rape or sexually assualted, you have unprotected with someone who is HIV positive, the condom brokes or comes out during intercourse, or you share neddles with someone who’s HIV status is unknown. When in doubt go to the emergency room as soon as possible.
Know Your Status.. Visit one of these Clinics to Find Out!
119 West 24 Street
New York, NY 10011
356 W 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
Brooklyn AIDS Task Force (BATF)
502 Bergen Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Bronx AIDS Service (BAS)
953 Southern Blvd
Bronx, NY 10459