PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis)
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at very high risk of getting HIV to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, PrEP can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection.
When taken daily, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV. Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken daily. Among people who inject drugs, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV by at least 74% when taken daily. PrEP is much less effective if it is not taken consistently.
As PrEP only protects against HIV, condoms are important for the protection against other STDs.
Condoms are also an important prevention strategy if PrEP is not taken consistently.
Two medications, sold under the brand names Truvada® and Descovy® are approved for daily use as PrEP to help prevent a person without HIV from getting the virus from sex or injection drug use. Studies have shown that PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV if it is used as prescribed. PrEP is much less effective when it is not taken consistently.Note: Truvada® for PrEP is recommended to prevent HIV for all people at risk through sex or injection drug use. Descovy® for PrEP is recommended to prevent HIV for people at risk through sex, excluding people at risk through receptive vaginal sex. Descovy has not yet been studied for HIV prevention for receptive vaginal sex, so it may not be appropriate for some people.
Who is PrEP for?
PrEP is for people without HIV who are at risk for getting the virus from sex or injection drug use. The federal guidelines recommend that PrEP be considered for people who are HIV-negative who:
Have had anal or vaginal sex in the past 6 months and:
Have a sexual partner with HIV (especially if the partner has an unknown or detectable viral load)
Have not consistently used a condom
Have been diagnosed with an STD in the past 6 months.
PrEP is also recommended for people who inject drugs and and have an injection partner with HIV or share needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs (for example, cookers).
PrEP should also be considered for people who have been prescribed non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and report continued risk behavior,
have used multiple courses of PEP.
If you have a partner with HIV and are considering getting pregnant, talk to your doctor about PrEP if you’re not already taking it. PrEP may be an option to help protect you and your baby from getting HIV while you try to get pregnant, during pregnancy, or while breastfeeding.
If you think PrEP might be right for you, call today to make an appointment to talk to a provider about PrEP: 307-733-6401.