Sex Without Repercussions?

Does The Existence Of A Morning-After Pill To Fight HIV Make For Less Cautious Living?

by Gottfried Moh

Sex Without Repercussions?

For sexually active people who are already used to getting rid of unwanted pregnancies through the use of after pills, it would probably be pleasing to know that thanks to the advancement of science and medical research, there has emerged an after-pill that exists to protect people when they unknowingly slept with someone who’s infected with HIV/AIDS.

(Quite frankly, people who knowingly infect others with the virus deserve a special place in hell, but don’t quote me.)

Many are familiar with the morning-after pill for pregnancy, popularly known as Plan B. There are also the birth control pills, all in a bid to not populate the world with more “mistakes” (imagine if Hitler’s mother took one of those). Time and time again, after an intense tryst, a trip has to be made to the pharmacy to purchase Postinor 2 because you’re the first son of your family with 5 younger siblings; no point adding to the already teeming number of dependents.

Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), according to research, is a way to prevent HIV infection after recent possible exposure to the virus. PEP involves a 28-day dosage of anti-HIV drugs, after possible exposure to HIV. Doctors will assess your risk of HIV infection before prescribing PEP and it is available at sexual health clinics as well as accident & emergency departments.

Will this pill influence how much people use condoms? This is, of course, considering the fact that the dynamics have changed. It won’t come cheap, but at least you can now buy your way out of those “more complicated situations”. According to some schools of thought, unprotected sex is a lot more pleasurable, but at what cost?

For maximum efficiency, you need to start taking PEP as soon as possible after the possible exposure to HIV. It is best to start PEP within 24 hours, but it must certainly be consumed within 72 hours after exposure.

As with all forms of medicine, there is always a caveat: PEP is not a ‘cure’ for HIV! It may prevent HIV from entering cells in the body and consequently stop someone from contracting the virus but that’s where the magic ends. PEP isn’t 100% effective. There have been a few reports of HIV infection even after the use of PEP.

When is PEP recommended? If you have had anal sex (whether as ‘bottom’ or as ‘top’) with someone who is known to be HIV positive. It is also recommended for women who have had vaginal sex with a man who is known to be HIV positive, if you have used injecting equipment previously used by someone who is known to be HIV positive, and for men who have had vaginal sex with a woman who is known to be HIV positive. The exception to this is if the person you had sex with is known to be receiving treatment for complications arising from HIV, and/or is discovered to have an undetectable viral load.

So, with all of this information, what are the odds? Are we going to witness a return of the “free love” era of the 1960s? Will Durex and other affiliated brands go out of business? At the very least, would the stigma that comes from living with HIV be eradicated? These are the questions, and it remains to be seen where this takes us to in terms of lifestyle changes.