So, you had a major lapse in judgement….in the heat of the moment, in the throws of passion, you thought just this one time…surely it will be ok…to just taste it a little bit…too risk it a little bit…unprotected sex. But now you are riddled with guilt, wondering was it worth it, am I safe? He/she looks clean, well, even is a good Christian. But you still have that nagging sensation, gnawing at the back of your mind…
You have some respite if within 72 hours of suspected HIV exposure, you take post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).
Let me make it very clear up front that these drugs aren’t some kind of cure all, prevent all that you can go around having unprotected sex, popping pills whenever you think that you have been exposed.
PEP involves taking anti-HIV medications as soon as possible after you may have been exposed to HIV to try to reduce the chance of becoming HIV positive. To be effective, PEP must begin within 72 hours of exposure. PEP consists of 2-3 antiretroviral medications and should be taken for 28 days.
PEP consists of powerful drugs that can cause side effects such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea or headaches throughout the four week course of medication. Sticking to the strict medication routine is essential to give the treatments a chance to work effectively. PEP is not 100 percent effective; it does not guarantee that someone exposed to HIV will not become infected with HIV.
With PEP you must go for regularly HIV tests for up to six months. Keep in mind that PEP should only be used in uncommon situations right after a potential HIV exposure. It is not a substitute for other proven HIV prevention methods, such as correct and consistent condom use. Everyone has an equal responsibility in protecting themselves and their partners from contracting HIV. Once bitten, twice shy.