Do you think you are at risk of contracting HIV? This question was the topic of the discussion with the majority of the participants stating that they are not at risk of being infected. The #CoffeeBarSession hosted young people from Mukuru with PEP and PrEP being at the center of the discussion.
How many times have you heard of a condom bursting? How many times have you had sexual intercourse with multiple partners? How many times have you heard of rape cases? Does that put you at risk?
PEP and PrEP discussion came at a better time when young people are not aware of how they work and the difference. Out of 27 participants, 25 have never heard of these types of medicines. This is a clear indication that there’s less information and this is also a contributing factor on the rise of HIV infections among young people.
We dwelled in understanding the difference between the two drugs and also who is at risk of getting HIV with a lot of people getting confused and shocked that there are actually medicines that can prevent HIV. 7 people have heard of PEP since its usually given after someone has been exposed through sexual assault such as rape. The difference between Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is one is taken before exposure while the other is taken after you have been exposed.
How is it possible that we have a drug that protect us and the drug is not known to many, do they want us to get infected or what is their own motive.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is antiretroviral medicine taken by HIV negative individuals to prevent getting HIV. If you don’t have HIV but have a high risk of contracting the virus, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) may be an option for you. Taking this medication once a day can greatly reduce your chances of developing HIV.
PrEP is for you if have had anal or vaginal sex in the past 6 months, you have a sexual partner who is HIV positive, you have not consistently used a condom or have been diagnosed with an STD in the past 6 months. This type of medicine is meant for people who don’t live with HIV but have higher chances of developing the condition.
PEP better known as post-exposure prophylaxis, is a short course of HIV medicines taken very soon after a possible exposure to HIV to prevent the virus from taking hold in your bodyThe medicine must be taken within 72 hours (3 days) after a possible exposure to HIV, or it won’t work. The drug is usually taken on emergency cases and is not meant for regular use by people who may be exposed to HIV frequently.
A lady participant pointed out that with the help of organization within Mukuru and beyond have in the frontline of sensitizing women and girls on PrEP and PEP leaving men and boys out the conversation. It was also noted that condom is the most used way of protecting yourself from being infected. However, majority were not aware that as soon as the condom bursts, you are also at risk of being infected.
Different reports indicate that people below 29 years are at higher risk of contracting the virus. Kenya may not achieve its quest to combat HIV/Aids if the current wave of new infections among adolescents and the youth is not contained and addressed. The first step is making sure that New HIV infections are contained by is by making sure information such as PrEP and PEP is not known out there. There’s need to have a vigorous campaign on PEP and PrEP. Young girls are being sexually violated and are not aware of any medication that would protect them from HIV.
We are all at risk of getting HIV, especially young people. Looking at the rate of teenage pregnancies and infections, we all need to take PrEP. Remember prevention is better than cure. In case you hear someone has been raped or a condom bursts, visit the office immediately.
As an organization, we continue to create safe spaces where young people can unlearn and learn. We believe in community that is well empowered and understands how the world its changing. Kindly note that the information shared here is not from a doctor. You need to visit the hospital for information and guidance. See you on Tuesday!