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PrEP & PEP.

​PrEP - Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis 

  • What is PrEP?

  • Why take PrEP?

  • Is PrEP Safe?

  • If I take PrEP, Can I Stop Using Condoms?

  • How Long Do I Need to Take PrEP?

  • How Long Do I Have to Take PrEP Before it’s Effective?

  • What is PEP?

PEP - Post-Exposure Prophylaxis

  • What is PEP?

  • How Do You Take PEP?

  • Testing after PEP

PrEP - Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis 

What is PrEP?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of getting infected. A combination of two HIV medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine),is approved for daily use as PrEP to help prevent an HIV-negative person from getting HIV from a sexual or injection-drug-using partner who’s positive. 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.

Why take PrEP?

For those at very high risk for HIV, PrEP can significantly reduce your risk of HIV infection if taken daily.  Daily PrEP use can lower the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90% and from injection drug use by more than 70%. You can combine additional strategies with PrEP to reduce your risk even further.

Is PrEP Safe?

PrEP can cause side effects like nausea in some people, but these generally subside over time. No serious side effects have been observed, and these side effects aren’t life threatening. If you are taking PrEP, tell your health care provider about any side effects that are severe or do not go away.

If I take PrEP, Can I Stop Using Condoms?

No, you should not stop using condoms because you are taking PrEP. 

PrEP doesn’t give you any protection against other STDs, like gonorrhea and chlamydia. Also, while PrEP can significantly reduce your risk of HIV infection if taken daily, you can combine additional strategies like condom use with PrEP to reduce your risk even further.

If used the right way every time you have sex, condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV and some STDs you can get through body fluids, like gonorrhea and chlamydia. However, they provide less protection against STDs spread through skin-to-skin contact, like human papillomavirus or HPV (genital warts), genital herpes, and syphilis. 

How Long Do I Need to Take PrEP?

You must take PrEP daily for it to work. But there are several reasons people stop taking PrEP. For example,

  • If your risk of getting HIV infection becomes low because of changes in your life, you may want to stop taking PrEP.

  • If you find you don’t want to take a pill every day or often forget to take your pills, other ways of protecting yourself from HIV infection may work better for you.

  • If you have side effects from the medicine that are interfering with your life, or if blood tests show that your body is reacting to PrEP in unsafe ways, your provider may stop prescribing PrEP for you.

How Long Do I Have to Take PrEP Before it’s Effective?

When taken every day, PrEP is safe and highly effective in preventing HIV infection. PrEP reaches maximum protection from HIV for receptive anal sex at about 7 days of daily use.

PEP - Post-Exposure Prophylaxis

What is PEP?

PEP is a form of emergency treatment taken after possible exposure to HIV, to prevent HIV infection. PEP is different from PrEP. PEP is taken after exposure and is not for long-term use.

How Do You Take PEP?

PEP is most effective at preventing HIV infection if you take it within 24 hours of exposure. PEP can’t be taken more than 72 hours after exposure.

  • If you think there’s a chance you might have been exposed to HIV, don’t delay referring for PEP.

  • PEP is taken for 4 weeks. 

  • PEP should be taken at the same time everyday.

 

Testing after PEP

  • It’s important to get tested after using PEP, to make sure the treatment was successful. 

  • Test 3 months after potential exposure, and again 6 months after.

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