Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a medication people at risk of HIV take to prevent infection with HIV. The medication works by blocking the enzyme the virus needs to multiply in your body, preventing the virus from taking hold and spreading.
Your provider determines if you’re a candidate for PrEP after an evaluation. PrEP isn’t for people who have HIV. After testing negative for HIV, you may be considered a candidate if you:
Have vaginal or anal sex without condoms
Tested positive for a sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the past six months
Have a sexual partner with HIV
Inject drugs or share needles
Have an injection partner with HIV
Reza Health may also recommend PrEP if you recently needed post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and continue to engage in behaviors that put you at risk of getting HIV.
The FDA has approved three medications for PrEP. These include:
Truvada is an oral medication FDA-approved for people at risk of getting HIV through sex or drug use.
Descovy is also an oral PrEP medication. It’s FDA-approved for men and transgender women at risk of getting HIV through sex.
Apretude is a long-acting injectable PrEP. It’s FDA-approved for anyone 12 and older who weighs more than 77 pounds and is at risk of getting HIV through sexual contact.
You must take the oral PrEP medications every day. A health care provider administers the injectable PrEP every two months.
PrEP is very effective at preventing HIV. When taken as prescribed, PrEP reduces your chances of getting HIV through sexual contact by 99%. For people who inject drugs, it’s 74% effective.
However, PrEP isn’t effective at preventing HIV right away. When PrEP becomes effective depends on the reason for use and medication type. Your medical provider talks to you about your PrEP and explains when the medication is most effective for you.
Once you start PrEP, you follow up every two to three months for HIV tests and refills. If you’re exposed to HIV or have symptoms, you need to stop taking your PrEP and only restart when you test negative for HIV. If you have HIV and take PrEP, the virus may become drug resistant, making it harder to treat.
To learn more about PrEP and how it can protect you from getting HIV, call Reza Health or schedule an appointment online today.