Post-Exposure Prophylaxis HIV Treatment
Post-exposure prophylaxis HIV treatment, more commonly known as PEP, is an emergency HIV prevention treatment. However, in using PEP, timing is of critical importance.
PEP must be started within 72 of being exposed to HIV. So if you’ve been exposed to HIV within this time window, the sooner you start taking PEP HIV medication, the better. PEP pills are not a morning-after solution. A complete course of post-exposure prophylaxis HIV treatment involves taking PEP for about a month. PEP is considered effective, but not 100%. For this reason, you should continue to use other forms of HIV prevention and consult an experienced primary care provider for HIV testing and prevention strategies.
For more information about PEP HIV medication in Atlanta, as well as other HIV/AIDS treatments, schedule an appointment with Erin Everett, NP-C, AAHIVS. Erin is an Atlanta HIV specialist certified by the American Academy of HIV Medicine. She is dedicated to providing safe environments for everyone to receive the highest quality healthcare.
How Effective is PEP HIV Medication?
PEP HIV treatment involves taking three or more antiretroviral (ARV) medicines every day for 28 days. It is strongly suggested to start PEP immediately following a possible HIV exposure to prevent becoming infected with HIV. You will need to visit your primary care provider during this 28 day period and after you finish taking PEP for HIV testing and other screenings.
oPEP vs nPEP
There are two types of PEP HIV medication: oPEP and nPEP. oPEP stands for “Occupational Post-Exposure Prophylaxis.” This type is used for health care workers who may need PEP as a result of a possible exposure to HIV while on-the-job, such as coming in contact with a needle. The more common type is nPEP, which stands for “Non-Occupational Post-Exposure Prophylaxis.” This type of PEP HIV medication is used for individuals who have had possible HIV exposure as a result of sex or injection drug use.
PEP has been proven highly effective in preventing HIV when the drug is taken properly, however, it is not 100% effective. The sooner you begin taking PEP HIV medication after a possible HIV exposure, the more likely you won’t contract the virus. While undergoing post-exposure prophylaxis HIV treatment, it’s important to continue using condoms and other HIV prevention practices.
What’s the Difference Between PrEP & PEP HIV Drugs?
Unlike post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) which is a time-sensitive form of HIV prevention that’s only effective within 72 hours of coming in contact with HIV, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a proactive HIV prevention strategy that is designed for individuals who are HIV-negative, but are at great risk of contracting the virus. In essence, PrEP is taken prior to possible exposure to prevent HIV, while PEP is an emergency solution taken after possible exposure.
If you’re susceptible to contracting HIV, consistently taking PrEP for HIV prevention may be in your best interest. Both the PrEP and PEP pills contain similar ARVs. Similar to PrEP, PEP HIV treatment is safe and effective, and comes with minimal side effects. The primary difference between these drugs is the timing and intention behind which they’re consumed. PEP contains additional ARVs which helps to block a major HIV enzyme, thereby preventing HIV from developing. For a more detailed explanation of PEP vs PrEP, schedule an appointment with Erin Everett, NP-C, AAHIVS, or you can read my blog post or listen to my podcast episode about the differences between PrEP and PEP.
Where to Get PEP HIV Pills in Atlanta?
If you think you were exposed to HIV, it’s important to immediately contact your primary care provider or visit an urgent care clinic or local HIV clinic. In addition to undergoing HIV testing and other screenings, your healthcare provider will help to decide whether you should receive PEP pills.
For professional and compassionate HIV care, Erin Everett, NP-C, AAHIVS, a certified HIV specialist based in Atlanta. Erin provides progressive, non-judgmental healthcare and HIV treatment for everyone – particularly individuals who are transgender, gay, bisexual, or are gender non-conforming. To learn more about consulting Erin for PEP HIV medication, testing, and other forms of treatment, schedule an appointment by visiting the Contact page.