You have probably heard about the morning-after pill that aims to prevent pregnancy right? Well now there is a new pill that can dramatically reduce the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS after exposure. It’s the morning-after pill that aims to make sure that another type of test you can take remains negative as well.
ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) was protesting the confusion that still surrounds the pills. Tim Murphy from New York Magazine recounts the actions that ACT UP took on the matter.
What is the pill exactly? That is the question that was on everyone’s mind. PEP, short for post-exposure prophyaxis, is a means of taking a month supply of HIV drugs starting within 72 hours of exposure to the virus to try and avoid permanent infection. The CDC released evidence that PEP was effective against the virus plus the guidelines on how they should be used.
This first happened in 2005. The statements were again released by the CDC in 2008. ERs were told that if there was a medically qualified patient in the department, they were to be given this medicine if they so requested it.
This all started eight years ago, and yet not many people know about this pill, what it does, or where to get it. A study that was conducted showed that 63% of the gay men who were surveyed had unprotected sex within 90 days prior. Only 36% knew about the PEP.
If no one knows where or how to get this drug, what are the chances that they are going to be able to use it effectively? It has been suggested that public education should be done on this subject and lists of local pharmacies that carry PEP should be easy to access for anyone in the city.