The Philippines is among one of the countries with the fastest growing HIV cases in the world. Thus, it is a relief that a pill that prevents the spread of human immunodeficiency virus or HIV is now accessible in the country.
The HIV Prevention Pill is medically called the pre-exposure prophylaxis pill or PrEP. This pill was previously approved to treat those who were already infected with the virus, but it has proven to also prevent infection by more than 90%.
By 2025, it is projected that the Philippines will have over 201,000 HIV cases. This number is more than twice the reported cases back in 2016 at 56,000. With the introduction of PrEP and HIV awareness, there is high hope that the number will be less than predicted.
Presently, two out of three HIV infections belong in the 15 to 24 age brackets, according to United Nations Programs on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). This virus can be transmitted through body fluids, sexual contact, blood transfusion and sharing of needles. It is also passed on from infected mother to child.
HIV infection can develop into Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or (AIDS) which kills the body’s immune system.
According to venereologist Dr. Gilbert Yang, this pill can be taken seven days before contact with HIV, once a day and as long as needed. Currently, the said pill needs prescription before it can be dispensed on pharmacies.
Dr. Yang said it incorrect dosage or self-medication may lead to resistance and can cause upset stomach.
Non-government organization Love Yourself’s website allows individuals to sign-up for their PrEP program which provides all the information needed regarding the pill, the clinics they can visit and the price of the pill.
Aside from the information campaign, Love Yourself also offers free laboratory tests to check for HIV. If a person turns out to be HIV positive, there is a pill called post-exposure prophylaxis that helps stop the spread of HIV within the body.
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 behaviour. It prevents HIV by 95%.
A PrEP bottle for 30 days reportedly costs around 1,500 to 2,400 pesos in the market.
Source: GMA News – HIV prevention pill now available in the PHL