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What to know about pre exposure prophylaxis-PREP

PrEP or PrEP – Pre-exposure prophylaxis is a type of HIV drug utilized by people who are HIV negative in protecting themselves against HIV. Currently, Truvada might be the only drug that qualifies to be approved for PrEP use. It is a single pill that combines two HIV drugs; emtricitabine and tenofovir. Truvada is the name of the brand of the PrEP, but several genetic forms of PrEP are available in the market.

You have to know that PrEP is different from PEP, which is normally an emergency treatment that you will have to take after an exposure to HIV.

How is using PrEP to prevent HIV?

The active ingredients in PrEP, which are anti-HIV drugs, stop the virus from being able to replicate in the body. In case you expose yourself to HIV when, for example, you have unprotected sex, but you have taken PrEP correctly, there will be enough high level of the drug in your bloodstream to prevent you from having to get HIV.

How is PrEP effective

If you use it correctly and consistently, then PrEP will be able to eliminate the risk of virtually you having to contract HIV. Several high profiles, large trials that have been done throughout the world have proved that it is effective.

If I am taking PrEP, can I then stop using a condom?

It will all depend on your circumstances. PrEP might protect you from HIV, but you will not be protected from other STDs. When you use a condom, it might be the best protection that will prevent you from getting STIs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and hepatitis C. With PrEP, you will not be able to prevent pregnancy.

Who should take PrEP?

PrEP has to be taken by HIV-negative people and at a high risk of HIV infections. PrEP can be used by both men and women, both cisgender and transgender. PrEP might be a good option if:

  • You are in a relationship with a person who is HIV positive, but their viral load is not detectable
  • You are a man who is bisexual or gay with multiple sex partners, and in most cases, you are not using a condom
  • You are a man who bisexual or gay in a sexual relationship that is new but unaware of your partner’s HIV status, and you don’t use condoms always.
  • You don’t use condom with opposite-sex partners whom you don’t know their HIV status and who tend to be at high risk of having HIV  like they have multiple partners, they inject themselves with drugs, or have bisexual male partners
  • You receive gifts for sex, or you have sex because of money
  • You have shared equipment such as injections, or you have a treatment plan where you are being injected.

Is PrEP an effective treatment for anal and vaginal sex?

Yes. It is possible to use PrEP to prevent infection of HIV both for anal and vaginal sex, but there are a variety of recommendations when it comes to your sex and gender.

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