Are you a couple with different HIV status and would like to start a family? The City of Ekurhuleni encourages such couples to enquire about the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis treatment now available at all its health facilities.
A serodiscordant relationship is as mixed-status, where one partner is HIV positive and the other is not.
Ekurhuleni professional nurse Sister Thandi Ngubane explains that the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is a form of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs given to HIV-negative people who are at risk of acquiring HIV before potential exposure to HIV.
“PrEP is given to prevent HIV acquisition. The current preferred regimen in South Africa is oral ARVs as a fixed-dose combination. The medication must be taken by HIV-negative persons before exposure to HIV to prevent HIV acquisition,” explains Sister Thandi Ngubane.
In keeping its community healthy, the provision of PrEP is part of the City’s comprehensive combination of HIV prevention strategy. Accordingly, HIV-negative people who are at risk of HIV infection should be offered PrEP as part of a combined HIV prevention strategy.
Sister Thandi Ngubane further states that health practitioners are there to assist residents with any queries, especially those who may find themselves at substantial risk of HIV infection and willing to take medication.
Below are some of the criteria used before PrEP is given:
- HIV-negative by routine rapid antibody test
- Absence of symptoms of acute HIV infection
- Willing and able to take PrEP as prescribed
- No contraindications to ARV combination drug
NB: Some individuals may report minor side effects in the first month of using PrEP, such as diarrhoea, headache, abdominal pain and nausea. Patients who experience any of the side effects are encouraged to discuss this with their professional nurse.