PrEPare Yourself For a Future Free From HIV

A new drug has been made available to the public to aid in the prevention of the incurable disease, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The drug is known as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), or known by the brand name Truvada. Patients who are at high risk for HIV exposure can take this drug to lower the chance of getting sexually transmitted HIV to an astounding 92%. Another experiment studying the spread of HIV through sharing of needles found that PrEP can reduce the risk of getting HIV by 70%. There are tens of thousands of new cases of HIV reported each year in the US. According to the CDC, 1 in 7 people with HIV do not yet know that they have it. This drug can be prescribed to high-risk individuals such as people who have sex with men who have sex with men and drug users that may share needles. HIV is a retrovirus that attacks T-cells in the body, lowering bodily immunity. HIV is spread by sex, by bodily fluids such as blood or breast milk, and it can be passed from mother to fetus. Symptoms of HIV include headache, nausea, rash, diarrhea, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. HIV can progress to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) when the infected individual’s T-cell count drops low enough (<200). This drug is huge breakthrough because there is no cure for HIV, and living with HIV causes a lot of suffering to the individual and to loved ones. PrEP utilizes anti-retrovirals to inhibit HIV from infecting the body. When your viral load of HIV increases, the likelihood that it will be transmitted increases. PrEP is convenient and manageable because it requires patients to take just one pill per day. The side effects of PrEP have been compared to the side effects of taking aspirin regularly, which is to say it is low-risk. There are assistance programs to help high-risk individuals obtain PrEP for free.





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