There have been significant new developments in the prevention of HIV infection in recent years. To reduce your risk of contracting HIV if exposed to it, you can now take a daily tablet subsidized by the government. Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is the name given to this type of medication.
Individuals who do not have HIV can reduce their risk of infection by taking PrEP, an anti-HIV drug known as Truvada. The first study on PrEP was published by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco. In this study, researchers found that men who took PrEP were 44% less likely to contract HIV than those who did not take it. Apart from that, The CDC estimates that only about 1 in 4 gay and bisexual men, who have sex with other men, are using PrEP.
Who can use PrEP?
PrEP is for HIV-negative people who are at risk of contracting the virus. Examples include:
- Men who have sex with other men without the use of a condom.
- Having an HIV-positive sexual partner who is not on treatment or is at high risk of contracting HIV.
- Despite your inconsistent condom use, you engage in sexual activity.
It is important to note that PrEP should not be used as a substitute for condoms. Condoms are still the best way to prevent HIV. PrEP should not be taken by anyone who does not have an HIV risk or by pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers.
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What are the risks of using PrEP?
PrEP is highly safe. People who take PrEP haven’t been reported to experience any significant issues. Side effects of PrEP include nausea, loss of appetite, headaches, fever, muscle pain, rash, and skin reactions near the injection site. These side effects are not dangerous and usually improve over time as your body adjusts to PrEP. The majority of PrEP users experience no adverse effects at all.
If you experience side effects that do not go away, consult your doctor or nurse. They can assist you in determining how to deal with side effects and ensure everything is in order.
How long do I have to take PrEP?
Discuss your situation with your doctor. People discontinue PrEP for a variety of reasons, including:
- If your risk of contracting HIV decreases due to changes in your life.
- There may be other ways of preventing HIV infection that is more effective for you if you don’t want to take medication every day or frequently forget to take it.
- You are experiencing adverse side effects that are affecting your daily activities.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people who have high-risk behaviors should be on PrEP indefinitely. This includes people who inject drugs or share needles, people who have unprotected sex with partners of unknown HIV status, and men who have sex with men without using a condom or other barrier methods for anal or vaginal sex.
Lastly, The HIV community is thriving and growing, with more than 400,000 people living with HIV today in the US. At Positive Single, we’re committed to helping you find love with confidence and even provide free HIV testing.