PrEP may lower your risk of getting HIV if you fit these criteria.
The HIV prevention medication known as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a daily pill that can drastically reduce your risk of becoming infected with the virus. But not everyone needs it.
PrEP is a prescription medication specifically meant for those who are at an increased risk of getting HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus. This pill creates a barrier for the immune system’s T cells to keep HIV cells from multiplying and permanently infecting the body with HIV. In other words, it is a preventative measure for anyone who knows they may be exposed to HIV, according to hematologist Jeffrey Laurence, MD, of Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City.
The following groups of people may benefit from taking PrEP to prevent HIV, according to the CDC.
Anyone who is HIV-negative and in a sexual relationship with a partner who is HIV-positive
Gay or bisexual men who have had anal sex without using a condom, or who have received an STD diagnosis in the last six months
Heterosexual men or women who do not regularly use condoms during sex with partners of unknown HIV status
Anyone who has sex without condoms with someone who is at risk of HIV infection, such as those who inject drugs
Anyone who has injected drugs, shared needles, or been or worked in drug treatment in the last six months
Because these groups are at risk of becoming infected with HIV, anyone who fits these descriptions should make sure to get tested at least once a year to know their HIV status, and—if necessary—begin treatment for HIV.
PrEP may help prevent HIV for those at risk of getting infected, but it is not meant for people who believe they may have already been exposed to HIV. Those individuals may benefit from a different treatment called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which can help prevent HIV infection if taken within 72 hours of exposure to HIV.
Dr. Laurence is a hematologist and professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. He is the senior scientific consultant for programs at amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.
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PrEP, pre-exposure prophylaxis is
a process by which you take a medicine,
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you take a pill, one pill to prevent
yourself from getting and HIV infection.
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The drug can be used in someone
who's in a monogamous relationship,
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where you're HIV negative and
your partner's HIV positive.
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PrEP is often also used by individuals
who have no idea what the status
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of a partner is.
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It may be a casual partner,
they may be going out on a new date,
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they may be going to a party and
just wanna be extra cautious.
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So, if you have a pill,
tenofovir based pill,
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taking a T can help you
not get that infection.
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Basically, you're having this
barrier here, it's not a vaccine,
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but it's kind of working like a vaccine.
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By taking PrEP, what you're doing
is having a preexisting layer of
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an anti viral drug in your body
to prevent HIV from taking hold.