Updated: Mar 30, 2020
PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a fairly recent medical innovation involving the use of HIV medication to prevent the virus from replicating and infecting your body. PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV by up to 99%. PrEP is suitable for use by any sexually active adult, but is strongly recommended for those who are at risk for HIV infections. PrEP might be a good idea if you:
Have a partner who is HIV+ or if you’re unsure about your partners’ status
Have not consistently used a condom
Have been diagnosed with an STI in the past 6 month
Have taken PEP in the last year
Have many partners
PrEP is a great way for each individual to empower themselves and take charge of their own sexual health, regardless of their partners status or choices. Furthermore, PrEP has also been associated with a reduction in HIV anxiety that has allowed its users to live fuller and more vibrant lives, while enjoying an extra level of protection against HIV infection.
PrEP can either be taken daily, or on demand:
Daily PrEP, as implied, involves taking the medication every day in order to prevent infection from any exposures during the period you’re on PrEP.
PrEP on demand involves taking PrEP based on exposures that you know are going to happen. 2 pills are taken 2-24 hours prior to exposure, followed by 1 pill 24 hours and 48 hours after the first dose. This PrEP schedule is less effective than daily PrEP but also reduces the number of pills one has to take, especially for those who have infrequent exposures.
If you’re interested in starting PrEP at CHCC, there are several steps to go through, which are as follows:
You’ll get to meet a sexual health consultant who will clear up any questions you have about PrEP, and determine if PrEP is going to be a good fit for you.
You’ll need to do a HIV test to ensure that your HIV status is negative
You’ll need to do a blood test to check on your kidney and liver function, to ensure that your body can properly process PrEP
After your first month of PrEP, it’s important to repeat the renal function test and the HIV test to ensure that your status remains negative and also that your body is responding well to the medication
For the first year you’re on PrEP, these tests will be repeated every 3 months, after which the follow-up period is 6 months.