Introduction to PEP
Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is any prophylactic (preventive) treatment started immediately after exposure to the pathogen (such as a virus) with the aim to prevent infection.
What is PEP?
PEP is the use of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), often becoming the standard of care for healthcare workers, who are at risk of occupational exposure to HIV. PEP should ideally be initiated within 72 hours of exposure, failing which is not advised and might not be effective.
Who needs PEP?
Anyone who has experienced condom failure or has been involved in any form of unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse, receptive fellatio with ejaculation with:
-A known HIV-infected partner and or
-HIV at-risk groups (commercial sex workers, IV drug users, men who have sex with men – including bisexual men) and or
-A person who was forced into any sexual act involuntarily (raped).
Before PEP prescription
A detailed history of the exposure if crucial in evaluating the patient. An assessment will then be done by the doctor to determine the likelihood of HIV transmission. The level of risk can be estimated with the following table:
|Needle stick injury||0.33%|
|Receptive anal intercourse||1%|
|Insertive anal intercourse||0.04%|
|Receptive vaginal intercourse||0.1%|
|Insertive vaginal intercourse||0.05%|
|Receptive fellatio with ejaculation (Oral Sex)||0.04%|
The patient will then be advised on the risks, benefits and alternatives of PEP. Should the decision be made to proceed with treatment, it would be important to follow-up for: potential side effects of the medications, repeat HIV screenings as well as reinforcement of counselling messages.
Course of PEP
The full course for the PEP drug combination will be for a duration of 28 days. AfA Is working closing with DSC Clinic to bring you PEP at very affordable rates.
Adverse Effects of PEP
Any drugs prescribed have the potential possibility of side effects.
These symptoms include nausea and diarrhoea.
It is advisable to check with your healthcare provider on what are the possible side effects from the medications being prescribed to you.
Exposure to saliva, urine, tears and sweat are not thought to be infectious.
HIV transmission from splashes of contaminated fluids to mucosal surface (i.e. nostrils, mouth, lips, eyelids, ears, genital area and the anus) or non-intact skin is likely to be low, although it has not been accurately justified.
PEP treatment is not 100% effective, best reports quote that PEP can potentially decrease the possibility of transmission by 81%.