Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a medication that (when taken regularly) can reduce the risk of contracting HIV. This pill contains two medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine) to prevent HIV from replicating within the body.
Currently, there are two medications on the market for PrEP that have been approved by the FDA. To get this medication, you’ll need a doctor’s prescription, to take the medication daily, and to see a doctor for a follow-up appointment after three months of use.
Patients who take PrEP every day can lessen their risk of contracting HIV.
One common misconception is that this medication is a vaccine for HIV and AIDs. Yet, unlike a vaccine, PrEP simply stops the virus from replicating in the body. Vaccines are administered once every few months to years, while PrEP is taken orally daily. If the virus happens to make its way into the body, the medication should stop the virus from replicating.
PrEP was designed for anyone who is HIV negative and is at a higher risk of contracting HIV or AIDs. It was designed only for people who weigh 77 pounds or more. Anyone interested in using this medication needs to get an HIV test before starting it, as PrEP is only for individuals who test HIV negative before starting treatment.
PrEP reaches is maximum effectiveness after seven days of continual use.
It doesn’t prevent other STIs or STDs, so users should always practice safe sex while on PrEP. Users who are HIV positive can still pass the virus on, so this medication should only be taken as a backup to prevent contracting HIV.
PrEP doesn’t have many side effects, but anyone who has kidney or liver problems should talk to their doctor before starting this medication. The most common side effects of PrEP are:
It’s impossible for a doctor to diagnose HIV without a blood test, so it’s important you get tested if you think you’re HIV positive. If you’re worried about going to a lab or a doctor’s office to get tested, you can always order an at-home testing kit and get your results in a few days.
The symptoms of HIV are similar to the symptoms of other conditions, so it’s difficult to diagnose this virus on symptoms alone. Just some of the symptoms of HIV include:
Getting PrEP is pretty easy. All you need to do is get tested for HIV; once you’ve tested negative, you can get a consultation with an online doctor. If PrEP is right for you, your doctor will write a prescription for the medication and you can get it delivered right to your home.
If you are at a higher risk for contract HIV, want a backup for condoms, or simply want peace of mind, contact your doctor to see if PrEP is right for you.