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PEP: Know the emergency treatment for people who have been exposed to HIV

PEP: Know the emergency treatment for people who have been exposed to HIV

Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), a strategy to prevent HIV infection, was initially made available to health professionals who were accidentally exposed to HIV (with needles and other contaminated instruments ) or for victims of sexual violence. Since 2010, however, there is the sexual PEP version. This is a strategy to supplement safe sex, indicated for people who have been exposed to sexual situations of risk for HIV infection: failure to use or even to break condoms. The idea of ​​the PEP is that as soon as the person has been exposed, it is evaluated and tested for HIV. This measure will check if it has already been infected previously - a factor that would make it impossible to use the PEP - since soon after the exposure it is not possible to know if the person contracted the virus or not. If the partner is present at the consultation, he / she will also undergo testing and, if indicated, the use of antiretroviral drugs is initiated.

PEP was thought of as an exception and does not in any way replace condom use. It protects against infection if there has been exposure to HIV and has this effect only if used religiously during the recommended period.

The drugs are the same as the therapeutic arsenal for HIV treatment and the PEP is more effective than started soon after exposure to risk. The limit is 72 hours after exposure, but the ideal is to seek immediate care. Preventive treatment should be continued for 28 days. When indicated, it will be continued for six months, with testing for other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), such as syphilis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

Like all medicines, PEP may (or may not) cause adverse effects to whom it is taken. Any difficulties should be discussed with the health care team who cares for the exposed person - and for effective prevention it is important to make regular use of the medicines for every 28 days.

All persons who believe they have been exposed to a risk seek care and will be evaluated. In the state of São Paulo, it is possible to find the service units on the website of the State Secretary of Health or, for the whole of Brazil, on the portal of the STD, AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Department of the Ministry of Health.

as an exception, and in no way supersedes the use of condoms. Medications protect against infection if there has been exposure to HIV and have this effect only if used religiously during the recommended period. In addition, its effect only exists while the person is making use of the medicines. Having recently used PEP does not in any way prevent that person from becoming infected with HIV at another risk exposure. In addition, the PEP does not prevent contagion by other STDs.

I understand today that combating the HIV / AIDS epidemic needs to use combined strategies and PEP is one of them. And like any emergency strategy, it's important that everyone knows it and know where to look for help. This idea should be at hand, just like the condom. If the condom fails, people need to know where to run. Be smart.


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