Medical treatment is available which can significantly reduce exposure to the virus, provided that it is administered directly after the intrusion of the HIV virus into the body.
What is PEP?
Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is a one month’s treatment with antiretroviral drugs that can inhibit contamination with the HIV virus; in order to be effective, it has to be administered as soon as possible – and in any case, within three days – after potential exposure to the virus.
How can one get PEP?
According to the relevant regulation in force, all hospitals are obliged to keep a stock of antiretroviral drugs for these instances. However, if you have access to a hospital that has an Infectious Diseases Unit, it would be advisable to pay a visit and discuss your case with a doctor. If the doctor believes that there is reason for you to take prophylactic therapy, the hospital will provide the medicinal treatment for free.
Will I need to be tested for HIV?
Yes, in order to be administered PEP, you will also have to take the HIV test, in order to establish that you haven’t been already exposed to the virus. You will also need to be tested after completion of the therapy, in order to confirm with the doctor that the treatment has been successful.
Does PEP have side effects?
In some cases the treatment can have side effects that you will need to report to your doctor. These side-effects usually subside after the first few days and will disappear any case after completion of the therapy.