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What is PrEP and how does it work, an HIV prevention pill that Chile will begin to distribute free of charge in 2019




PrEP must be accompanied by other preventive methods such as condoms.

Cities like London, San Francisco and New York are registered every time.
fewer new AIDS cases and experts link much of this achievement with a pill: pre-exposure prophylaxis, better known as PrEP.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PrEP, if taken daily, reduces the likelihood of HIV infection through sexual contact by more than 90% or 70% using unsterilized needles or several people. Disease Prevention USA (CDC for its abbreviation in English).

The American pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences began selling it in 2012 under the Truvada brand.

And three years later, the World Health Organization (WHO) began recommending its use for HIV prevention among groups at high risk of HIV infection, such as homosexuals, bisexual men and their female partners, sex workers, or sex workers. vapors of someone infected by this virus.

But while its results are already visible in developed countries, the high price of this treatment keeps it away from the most vulnerable areas.


The tablet contains emtricitabine and tenofovir, which prevent the reproduction of the virus.
The tablet contains emtricitabine and tenofovir, which prevent the reproduction of the virus.

For example, Chile is one of 10 countries in the world where, according to the UN Joint Program on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS), the number of new cases of HIV infected has increased by more than 50% between 2010 and 2017.

And there, according to the press in this country, the cost of PrEP ranges from 575 to 645 US dollars per month.

However, as of the first quarter of 2019, the government will distribute it for free as part of an ambitious national plan to fight AIDS, as the number of new infections doubled between 2010 and 2017, according to the Institute of Public Health of Chile. (ISP).

But how does this work?

Side effects

PrEP contains emtricitabine and tenofovir, two drugs that are also used in antiretroviral drugs, because they reduce the amount of virus in the blood and prevent its multiplication.

The CDC explains that it does not work as a vaccine because it does not generate antibodies, and its daily consumption is necessary so that emtricitabine and tenofovir are present in the blood at the time of infection and prevent the establishment of HIV in the body. webpage

However, PrEP is not for everyone. Before you start taking it, you must exclude that the patient is already infected with a virus. It is also necessary to check the good condition of the kidneys and liver, as the tablets can cause disorders in these organs.


Chile will start giving out pills for free
Chile will start giving out pills for free

Experts recommend limiting its use to those who are at apparent risk of acquiring HIV, since treatment can lead to side effects such as nausea, upset stomach or headaches and, in more extreme cases, the accumulation of lactic acid in the blood.

In addition, those who suffer from hepatitis B should be especially careful because if they start using Truvada and then stop treatment, it is very likely that hepatitis will become worse.

Not 100% infallible.

Admission PrEP does not mean that other methods of prevention can be waived. The tablet does not protect against other sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea, syphilis, or genital herpes, which is incurable.

None is 100% error free. Although they are rare, there are at least five cases in which people became infected with HIV, despite the fact that they took Truvada, and two more cases in which it cannot be completely ruled out that patients acquired the virus before they started taking the pill. collects a portal specializing in AIDS.

There are a few exceptions among the thousands of people who use PrEP. But even in this case, treatment should be accompanied by other preventive methods, such as condoms and periodic HIV tests.


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