Is There A Morning-After Pill That Prevents HIV?

Morning_Pill_HIV_slideIllustrated by Ly Ngo.
By Mylanie Sanchez
Someone asked us: Is there a morning-after pill for HIV?
This is a great question! The short answer is "kinda, but not really."
There are medicines (called Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PEP) that help prevent HIV after someone has been exposed. Sometimes, people think of PEP as “morning-after pills for HIV,” because they can be started up to three days after being exposed to HIV — but that’s where most of the similarities end.
So, how is PEP different from the morning-after pill (a.k.a. Plan B or emergency contraception)? Unlike emergency contraception (which is just one or two pills taken over the course of one day), PEP consists of two to three different drugs that must be taken for 28 days.
Even after completing the treatment, you would need to be regularly tested for HIV for about six months after exposure.
The tricky part about all this is that many people don’t know if or when they’ve been exposed to the virus. According to the CDC, one in six people with HIV don’t even realize they’re infected. Plus, PEP is a pretty involved medical process that you really need a doctor to help monitor. It’s not something everyone can pick up at the drugstore and take after unprotected sex, “just in case.”
And, remember: If you’re sexually active, always use condoms, get tested regularly, and encourage partners to do the same. If you or your partner is living with HIV/AIDS, ask your doctor how you can manage the risk of exposure in your relationship and reduce the chances of spreading the infection.
-Mylanie at Planned Parenthood

More from Sex & Relationships

Sexting was never my thing, and I sure as hell never thought I would even consider cybersex. I knew myself — or at least, I thought I did. I’ll get too ...
Historically, women in West Africa have not had a voice. Men decide if their wife or wives can use birth control or have access to money; fathers decide if...
Foreplay often doesn't get enough credit — not to mention time or attention. In one study of heterosexual couples published in the Journal of Sexual ...
Amber Rose doesn't do "off days." "I always feel confident," she tells us. "I never allow myself to not feel confident. I wake up and say, I’m going out ...
Aside from encountering creeps and starting conversations that just don't go anywhere, one major problem online daters face is catfishing. According to a...
A version of this story originally appeared on Shape. When it comes to female pleasure, there's enough misinformation out there to fill a book. One of ...
This article was originally published on December 18, 2015. According to stereotypes, men are the sexually voracious cheaters and women are the ...
(Paid Content) You don't need a degree in common sense to know getting involved with a coworker is a bad idea. Yet, we probably all know someone who has, ...
We're great fans of accessorizing in the bedroom. Au naturel stimulation is wonderful, but sex toys can do things that people just can't. The sex toy ...
Even as the sex toy market continues to expand, there remain a few vital "firsts" for the industry to tackle. This week, with the arrival of the Buck-Off...
The Halloween-costume-planning frenzy is officially in full swing, and we still have so many questions. Is our costume idea clever without being obscure? ...
This article was originally published on April 2, 2015 and has been updated throughout. Lube is a little like masturbation. It's a big part of most people...
It would be an understatement to say that a lot of us love superhero blockbusters. Luckily, there's really no shortage of them, but should you ever need ...
The following is an excerpt from Asa Akira's recently released memoir Dirty Thirty. Another year of wasted eggs because I chose to whore instead. “Do ...