HIV prevention drug now available in the Philippines

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HIV prevention drug now available in the Philippines
The pre-exposure prophylaxis or prEP and post-exposure prophylaxis pill or PEP are now available in the Philippines.

The Philippines was recently reported to be one of the countries with the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world. Now, the pill that prevents the spread of the virus is already available in the country. 

The pill is called the pre-exposure prophylaxis pill or prEP that, according to Izzy Lee’s report on Stand for Truth on Tuesday, is proven to be 95% effective. 

A bottle of prEP that is good for 30 days costs around P1,500 to P2,400. 

According to the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the country is projected to have over 201,000 HIV cases by 2025. 

Meanwhile, the current report of the total number of HIV cases, people aged 15-24 have the infection. 

The UNAIDS suggested to give more education about how the epidemic gets transmitted or on how to properly use preventions like condoms. 

How to take prEP? 

“Before you get exposed to something, to HIV, iinumin nila ito [prEP pill]. Ang prep ay iniinom seven days before contact, once a day and you can continue taking it as long as you want,” said Venereologist Dr. Gilbert Yang. 

An individual named Marvin Frondoza, said he has been taking the pill for a year. He said he discovered the drug via non-government organization Love Yourself. 

On the other hand, Dr. Yang stated that someone should still have prescription of taking the pill from a doctor. He said the pill can’t be bought over the counter. 

“Kasi anti-bacterial, anti-viral [kaya] hindi nabibili over the counter. This develops resistance if taken the wrong way. It has side effects. PrEP sometimes causes an upset stomach. It can cause a bit of loss.”

Dr. Yang also highlighted that there is this pill called post-exposure prophylaxis or PEP that could protect your body from the HIV after being exposed to someone who has it. 

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post-exposure prophylaxis or PEP | Image Source: Aidsmap.com

“If you got exposed to someone with HIV or if you had sexual contact with whom you don’t know, you can take this pill within 72 hours from the high risk behavior. It prevents HIV by 95%.”

Moreover, Love Yourself program manager Danvic Rosadino said that the pill is somewhat an empowerment as someone could engage to sexual behavior safely. 

“It can empower someone like me. Pag nagmahal ka dapat ‘yung tao ‘yung minamahal mo. Walang ifs, walang buts. PrEP can help you build a more meaningful relationship and look beyond the HIV status of an individual,” shared Frondoza. 

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