When you check for the history of HIV, you will get information that does not add up. First, scientists say they believe that it originated from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1920. Apparently, the Congolese used to hunt and eat chimpanzees which had the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV), a virus closely related to HIV.
The most baffling thing is that the first case of HIV to be diagnosed in North America was confirmed in 1968 in a 16 year old boy who had never left his home town or received any blood transfusion. So how did he get the virus if it originated from DRC? That is a question for another day. Other accounts indicate that the virus actually originated in Africa but started in 1960. The first case in Kenya was diagnosed in 1984.
Over the years, HIV has ravaged the globe killing millions of people. With ARVs in place, the adversity of the virus has been cut back significantly. However, scientists have been working tirelessly to create a drug that will cure the virus. Speculations about the cure being found have been numerous but yet to be validated. In the recent years, doctors have come up with two drugs that can help people dodge the virus even if they don’t use protection.
PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis)
PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis), is a drug that is taken to prevent you from getting the HIV virus before you sleep with someone who is infected. The medicine, if taken according to prescription can protect one from catching the virus by 99%. Nonetheless, the drug does not shield the body from other sexually transmitted diseases therefore the use of a condom is still very prudent. The drug costs 2800 KES per unit in Kenya. The Truvada regimen of the PrEP drugs however costs upto 200000 KES per monthly unit in Kenya.
PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis)
So what happens when you have already slept with an infected person without protection? In comes the Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). The drug is designed to protect your body from retaining the HIV virus soon after you have already been exposed. Basically, the virus is already in you but the medicine can help your body destroy it completely.
However, there is a catch. The drug has to be started not more than 72 hours after a possible exposure. Additionally, it is supposed to be taken for 28 days consecutively. The medicine works perfectly but can cause side effects such as nausea in some people. A private full course PEP treatment costs between 60000 KES to 100000 KES. The cost from the government is still unknown. The world is currently anticipating for a cure of HIV and all we can do is wait.