- Had sex with a HIV positive partner or someone whose HIV status is unknown.
- Injected drugs and shared equipment such as needles or syringes with others
- Slept with anyone who has any of the risk factors above or whose history you are unsure off.
Factors that can increase the risk of HIV infection include:
- Condom Break
- Presence of Blood (e.g. Menses)
- Presence of cuts
- Presence of Ulcers or other sexually transmitted infections in either partner
- You are not circumcised
- Intercourse with high risk partner (Multiple partners, injects drugs, or a man who has sexual intercourse with another man)
How much does the HIV PEP cost?
The usual costs of HIV PEP involved are:
Consultation + Medication – $1928
Rapid HIV test (if necessary) – $54
Baseline blood tests (if necessary) – $150
(Depending on the duration of the consultation)
2.) Blood tests (Full Blood Count, Liver Function, Kidney Function) $150.00
These tests are to establish a baseline.
We do not need to wait for these results to start the PEP treatment.
You may not need these tests if you had them done recently e.g. when you did an executive health screening
3.) Rapid HIV Testing $54
This is to ascertain that you do not have an established HIV infection
4.) Medication $1928
This is for the entire 1 month of medication
The price is the same regardless of which drug regime we use
*If you do not require the blood tests (e.g. you have done them recently) the cost will be lower.
* The new HIV PEP Drugs that we use have lesser side effects than the old medicines.
Make sure you know what drugs you are taking before you start on the PEP.
So what now?
If you think you are at risk of being infected with HIV, come down to see us as soon as possible during our clinic hours.
We will have an in-depth discussion with you on your risks and whether or not it is recommended that you take PEP.
The Science Behind HIV PEP:
HIV PEP is not just any medication; it’s a combination of antiretroviral drugs specifically designed to prevent the HIV virus from establishing an infection in the human body. When taken correctly, these drugs halt the virus’s replication process, giving your immune system a fighting chance to ward off a potential infection.
The Golden Window:
The 72-hour window post-exposure is crucial. This period is often referred to as the “Golden Window” because starting the treatment within this timeframe significantly increases its effectiveness. Every hour counts, so immediate action is paramount.
Potential Side Effects:
Like all medications, HIV PEP can come with side effects. While the newer drugs have fewer side effects, some individuals might experience nausea, fatigue, or mild headaches. It’s essential to communicate any discomfort to your healthcare provider to ensure the best care and advice.
Follow-Up is Key:
After starting PEP, it’s not just about taking the pills. Regular follow-ups with your healthcare provider are crucial. These check-ins monitor any side effects, ensure the medication is working correctly, and provide emotional and psychological support during what can be a challenging time.
Prevention is Better Than Cure:
While PEP is a fantastic emergency solution, it’s essential to remember that regular preventive measures are still the best defense against HIV. This includes regular use of condoms, routine health check-ups, and considering options like PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) if you’re at continuous risk.
Emotional and Psychological Support:
An HIV scare can be emotionally taxing. It’s not just about the physical health but also the mental well-being. Consider seeking counseling or joining support groups to navigate through the emotional roller-coaster. Sharing and hearing others’ experiences can provide solace and guidance.
In our ever-evolving world of medicine, the tools and knowledge to protect ourselves are at our fingertips. HIV PEP stands as a testament to the strides we’ve made in combating the HIV virus.
However, it’s essential to remember that while treatments like PEP offer a safety net, proactive prevention remains our strongest shield. As we navigate the complexities of our health, let’s prioritize education, timely action, and compassion for ourselves and others. Stay safe, stay informed, and always choose the path of proactive care.