Now that medical methods of controlling HIV have become much more effective than they ever have been, there has been a rise of prophylactic treatment to prevent the spread of HIV from infected individuals to their partners. This is called PrEP or pre exposure prophylaxis.
The Need for Prophylaxis
While there are many individuals with HIV who are very stable and have almost undetectable levels of HIV in their systems, these people are still sexually active. The question has long been standing about how this affects their sexual partners. In both gay and straight couples, this is an issue.
A number of effective HIV drug combinations have been found to be highly effective for preventing the spread of HIV. These drugs are given to people who are not infected but who are exposed to sex with infected partners.
The Way it Works
These are the very same antiretroviral drugs that are used to treat HIV and AIDS. In certain combinations, they are given for weeks prior to any exposure to individuals with the virus. The drugs work by concentrating in vaginal and rectal tissues to very high degrees.
When the person on the prophylactic medication is then exposed to sex with someone who has HIV, there is much less of a chance of them getting infected. According to studies, this can be up to 94% effective at reducing contraction of HIV.
A Basic Misunderstanding
There is still a basic misunderstanding among people infected and there is still a great deal of ignorance around HIV infection. That is why some people are still not using condoms and youths are still not educated about how HIV is spread.
As a result, there is a big call for the use of PrEP, particularly in high infection countries such as India where there are nearly 5,000 new cases diagnosed each day. This is a very high number compared to America but even here there are still many infections arising.
There is an idea that people who are being treated for HIV and not able to transmit the virus and this just is not true. There is partial truth to it in that, those who have undetectable levels of virus are not capable of transmitting it but people are not always at this level of health.
New Clinics Needed
Many clinicians and pharmacists are pushing for more and more PrEP clinics to rise up all over the world. This needs to be part of the battle against HIV because the use of condoms is still not as widely accepted as it should be and abstinence is not practiced very much at all.
Quite a number of people who are at risk of exposure need to be on ARV treatment as prophylaxis for HIV. This is essential and, if it is put forward to a greater degree, the world could be looking at a significant drop in the rising cases of HIV.
Additionally, partners will be able to lead safe sex lives again. With this in mind, better clinical professionals around the world are pushing for more PrEP prescriptions where needed.