Safe Sex

Safe Sex

WHAT'S PrEP?

While condoms remain the surest way to keep yourself safe from HIV and many other STIs, PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is another option for preventing HIV for those who struggle with condom use.

PrEP is an HIV medication called Truvada that is taken if you are HIV negative. When taken on a daily basis, PrEP builds up in your system and significantly reduces the chances of HIV infection.

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Going on PrEP is a commitment and is best done under the guidance of a doctor with good knowledge of HIV and sexual health. There are a few key things to be aware of when it comes to PrEP:

  • PrEP works by maintaining a certain level of drug in the body that can prevent HIV establishing an infection. This means that you have to take the pill every day to maintain this level of drug. Studies have shown that if it is taken every day as prescribed it reduces the risk of getting HIV by at least 92%.
  • PrEP does not provide protection from any other STIs like syphilis or gonorrhoea which can increase the possibility of HIV infection. So it’s important to keep condoms in the mix and test at least every three months for these other STIs.
  • It’s important to test for HIV before you start PrEP and every three months while you’re on it – if you use PrEP when you already have HIV it can cause the virus to develop resistance and reduce your options for HIV treatment. 
  • PrEP can affect your kidneys, and also has other potential side effects. You need to have your kidneys checked before you go on PrEP and regularly once you start the medication

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