How Do I Talk To My Partner About Prep And Hiv
Look, we know: Talking about STDs is never fun. No one wants to think they might be exposed to HIV, but we all know its possible. And if PrEP is an important part of you being a healthy sexual being, its worth pushing through the awkward and having the conversation.
Here are some conversation starters to help you get started:
I heard about this new pill that is 90% effective at preventing HIV. Its called PrEP. Have you heard of it?
Hey, did you know just started taking PrEP? I think thats so awesome.
My doctor told me about a new drug called Truvada thats safe and super effective for preventing HIV. He said maybe wed be interested in going on it. What do you think?
If you want more pointers about talking to your partner about PrEP, check out these recommendations from the CDC.
Im Currently Using Prep To Prevent Hiv What Happens If I Miss A Dose Or Two
Taking PrEP as prescribed by your doctor directly relates to the effectiveness of PrEP in preventing HIV transmission.
Your level of protection will be reduced if you miss any doses. Make sure you discuss any changes to your routine with your doctor. Existing studies may suggest different types of adherence. Your doctor will inform you how best to adhere to PrEP.
There are free mobile phone apps available that can remind you to take medications if you find it difficult to remember to take your pills.
Take Hiv Medications To Prevent Hiv
People living without HIV may want to consider preventive HIV medications to avoid the risk of acquiring HIV. Currently, there are two strategies for preventing HIV with antiretroviral therapy. One of the medications is taken daily, as a preventive measure. The other is taken after potential exposure to HIV.
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Prep: What Is It And How Does It Reduce Hiv Risk And Infection
Medicine has come a long way since acquired immunodeficiency syndrome was first identified in the 1980s. But while AIDS is treatable, theres still no cure for it. The best way to protect yourself from AIDS and HIV, the virus that causes it, is through prevention. In combination with safe sex and drug use practices, PrEP can prevent you from getting HIV in the first place. Heres everything you need to know about PrEP and how it can reduce your risk of HIV infection.
When Both Partners Are Positive: What About Reinfection
Many HIV positive people have sexual partners who are also positive.
If both partners are positive this removes the anxiety of worrying about HIV.
Knowing about reinfection is important. If either partner has drug resistance or a different type of resistance this can be transmitted.
How often reinfection occurs is not known. The risk is probably at least as low as catching HIV the first time. This will be higher if viral load is detectable and dramatically less for someone on effective treatment.
The implications for your health if reinfection occurs will depend on how serious the resistance is.
This means knowing about both your and your partners treatment history.
If neither of you have resistance, or if you both have the same resistance, then reinfection is not a problem.
But if one of you has drug resistance, and a detectable viral load, then reinfection would stop these drugs from working.
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Get And Keep An Undetectable Viral Load
- If you take HIV medicine and get and keep an undetectable viral load, you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
- We dont know whether getting and keeping an undetectable viral load prevents HIV transmission through sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment . It very likely reduces the risk, but we dont know by how much.
- Getting and keep an undetectable viral load is the best thing you can do to stay healthy and protect others.
- Learn more about HIV treatment.
What if I cannot get an undetectable viral load?
Some people face challenges that make it hard to stick to a treatment plan. A few people cannot get an undetectable viral load even though they take HIV medicine as prescribed. If your viral load is not undetectableor does not stay undetectableyou can still protect your partners by using other prevention options.
How Can I Start Prep And How Long Do I Take It For
You must take an HIV test before starting PrEP to be sure that you dont already have HIV. If you have HIV already then taking PrEP may increase the likelihood of developing drug resistance which makes HIV treatment less effective.
While youre taking PrEP, you should visit your healthcare professional for regular check-ups .
Unlike HIV treatment, people do not stay on PrEP for life. PrEP is normally taken for periods of weeks, months or a few years when a person feels most at risk of HIV. This might be during specific relationships, after the break-up of a relationship and dating new people, when planning a holiday when you know you will be sexually active with new people whose status you may not know, while dealing with drug use problems, or when trying to conceive and one of you is known to be HIV positive.
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What If I Dont Have Health Coverage Or Still Cant Afford Prep
Dont have insurance or Medicaid coverage? There are resources that may be able to help you pay for PrEP and your necessary clinic visits and tests.
One source is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Ready, Set, PrEP program that provides PrEP at no cost for people without prescription drug coverage. For more information, and to find out if you qualify, see the blue box below.
Another source is Gileads Medication Assistance Program for PrEP . You can apply for this program to see if you can get PrEP at no cost, based on your income. For more information call 505-6986.
Need help paying for your clinic visits and lab tests?
- You can get them at HRSA-funded Health Centers, where the sliding scale fees are based on your ability to pay. There are more than 12,000 health centers nationwide.
Tips And Tools For Becoming An Hiv Peer Mentor
ART Antiretroviral therapy, or ART, is a type of medication for people who are HIV positive. These antivirals can lower their viral loads to undetectable levels which therefore reduces the risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner.
In fact, two separate studies one published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in July 2016 and a more recent study published in The Lancet in June 2019 have both found that when an HIV-positive individual takes antiviral medication to suppress their viral load, there is virtually zero risk of transmitting HIV through condomless sex.
Theres the saying that undetectable equals untransmittable, says Urbina. But there are a few caveats: You have to know your partners status you have to know that theyre taking their medications daily and they have to have a laboratory test that demonstrates that their viral load is undetectable. So its important to have these conversations with your sexual partners to help prevent transmission.
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Things To Keep In Mind
- Only people who are HIV negative should use PrEP or PEP.
- You must be tested for HIV and have a documented negative test result before starting PrEP.
- PrEP and PEP are available by prescription from a medical provider such as a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. You can also get PEP at your local emergency room or urgent care clinic, although these locations may provide just the first two or three days doses to get you started . Youll need to talk with your provider to see if PrEP or PEP is right for you.
- PrEP is more than just taking a pill every day it also involves regular medical visits and lab tests to check for HIV, other STIs, and any changes in kidney health.
- Neither PrEP nor PEP protects against other STIs or pregnancy, and theyre not cures for HIV.
- PEP is taken for 28 days while PrEP is taken daily in an ongoing basis.
- PrEP does not have to be taken forever and can be stopped at any time under the supervision of your medical provider. When stopping PrEP, individuals should continue using it for four weeks after the last significant exposure.
- If youve used PEP in the last year, it might be a good idea to talk to your medical provider about PrEP.
How Can I Protect Myself
To protect yourself from getting infected with HIV, you can use protection or practice abstinence. Being faithful to one partner can also reduce your risk of getting HIV. However, you can get HIV with only one partner if the partner is unfaithful and having unprotected sex.
Other methods of protection include taking antiretroviral drugs, male circumcision, and vaccination.
Using condoms is the most effective method of protection against HIV and sexually transmitted infections. It also helps prevent unwanted pregnancies.
- They are very effective if used properly and this means using a condom that fits properly.
- To ensure that you are using a condom in the right way, here are a few basic things you can do:
- Every time you have intercourse, use a new condom.
- Put on a condom before any kind of sexual contact, whether it may be vaginal, oral or anal.
- Avoid using baby oil, vaseline or any other oil-based lubricant as it can cause the condom to break or split.
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How Do I Take Prep
There are two ways to take PrEP:
One tablet per day
- transgender men having vaginal/frontal sex
- men having vaginal or anal sex with women
- gay and bisexual men
Things to consider:
You will need to take PrEP for 7 days before you are protected, and then every day for as long as you want protection.
Event-based where you take PrEP before and after planned sex
- gay and bisexual men
Things to consider:
This option would work for you if you are able to plan for sex at least two hours in advance or you can delay having sex for at least two hours.
There are different types of event-based PrEP depending on your pattern of sexual activity, so make sure you talk this option through with a health professional.
Who Can Use Prep
PrEP isnt right for everybody. PrEP is for people who dont have HIV, and are at higher risk for getting HIV. You may want to talk with a doctor or nurse about PrEP if you:
Dont regularly use condoms.
Have a sexual partner who has HIV .
Have a sexual partner who is at high risk for getting HIV .
Have anal or vaginal sex with many partners, especially if you dont use condoms regularly.
Recently had another STD .
Do sex work that includes vaginal or anal sex.
Have injected drugs, shared needles, or been in treatment for drug use in the past 6 months.
If youre at high risk for HIV and youre pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding, PrEP may also help you and your baby avoid getting HIV.
Your doctor or nurse will talk with you about your situation to figure out if PrEP is right for you. Its important to be honest so you can get the best health care for you doctors and nurses are there to help, not judge. The more accurate information they have, the better they can help you.
PrEP isnt the same thing as PEP . PEP is a short-term treatment for people whove already been exposed to HIV within the past 72 hours. PrEP is an ongoing daily pill for people who may be exposed to HIV in the future.
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What Is Viral Suppression
Antiretroviral therapy keeps HIV from making copies of itself. When a person living with HIV begins an antiretroviral treatment regimen, their viral load drops. For almost everyone who starts taking their HIV medication daily as prescribed, viral load will drop to an undetectable level in six months or less. Continuing to take HIV medications as directed is imperative to stay undetectable.
I Have Sex Partners Who Are Living With Hiv And Have An Undetectable Viral Load Because They Are On Hiv Treatment Do I Still Need To Take Prep
Individuals living with HIV who are taking HIV treatment consistently and have an undetectable viral load for at least 6 months cannot transmit the virus to an HIV-negative partner through sexual activity. In sero-discordant or magnetic couples , PrEP may be used by the HIV-negative partner for additional protection.
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Monogamous Relationships And Open Relationships
You should talk to your partner and agree whether your relationship will be monogamous or open .
There are risks in not discussing it and assuming that your partner agrees with you. Some people who think they are in a monogamous relationship find out that their partner has had sex with others.
Both monogamous and open relationships can bring benefits and challenges. For example, some couples in monogamous relationships say they enjoy feeling both physically and emotionally committed to only one person. However, they may feel frustrated if they have a higher or lower sex drive than their partner.
Some couples in open relationships say they enjoy the sense of freedom and variety it can bring, but it can also highlight any feelings of jealousy or insecurity within the relationship.
Mutual trust and honest communication are vital in both monogamous and open relationships.
If you both agree to be monogamous it’s important that you discuss what would happen if one of you broke this agreement. If either of you feels you must hide the fact that youve had sex outside the relationship, it can seriously threaten the relationship as well as both partners sexual health.
Can I Transmit Hiv To My Baby During Pregnancy Or Breastfeeding
An HIV-infected pregnant woman can pass the virus on to her unborn baby either before or during birth. HIV can also be passed on during breastfeeding. If a woman knows that she is infected with HIV, there are drugs she can take to greatly reduce the chances of her child becoming infected. Other ways to lower the risk include choosing to have a caesarean section delivery and not breastfeeding.
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Who Can Take Prep Can You Use Prep If Youre Hiv Positive
PrEP is for anyone who may be at higher risk of HIV exposure. This might be you if you frequently have unprotected sex with different partners, if your partner is HIV positive, or if youre a sex worker or an injection drug user. You may also be at increased risk if your partner engages in any of these behaviours.
Because PrEP is a preventative course of medication, you should only take it if youre HIV-negative. If you know or suspect that youre HIV-positive, or think youve been exposed to HIV, get tested and speak to your doctor about other forms of treatment, or about post-exposure prophylaxis . Taking PrEP when youre HIV-positive can make you resistant to the medication, limiting your future treatment options.
Can I Take Pep Every Time I Have Unprotected Sex
PEP is only for emergency situations. It is not the right choice for people who may be exposed to HIV frequently – for example, if you often have sex without a condom with a partner who is HIV-positive. In that case, you should talk to your health care provider about whether PrEP would be right for you.
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Protect Yourself From Hiv With Prep
Protecting yourself from HIV , is a big part of taking pride in yourself and your health. While theres currently no vaccine to protect against HIV, if youre HIV-negative there are steps you can take to help protect yourself. One pill, taken every single day can lower your risk of getting HIV by up to 99 percent.
Are You At High Risk
PrEP is a medication that is recommended for people who are at a high risk of HIV transmission. Some of the leading causes of HIV transmission include:
- Engaging in unprotected sex with a partner who is HIV positive or whose HIV status is unknown.
- Engaging in unprotected sex with partners who have additional sexual partners.
- Having unprotected sex if you have been diagnosed with an STI.
- Sharing needles or syringes.
The only way HIV can be transmitted to another person is through contact with blood, semen, or vaginal fluids. It is also important to note that uncircumcised males are at a slightly higher risk of contracting HIV since they are more prone to bacteria and infections. There is evidence that male circumcision can also reduce the risk of HIV transmission.
Homosexual and bisexual males are typically at a higher risk of contracting HIV. The transmission rate through anal sex is more than ten times greater than through vaginal intercourse. Receptive anal sex also has a higher transmission rate, meaning that the risk of HIV transmission is higher for bottoms than for tops.
However, this does not mean that tops are not at risk as the insertive partner may also contract HIV through anal intercourse. So, whether you are a top, a bottom, or versatile, you could be at a high risk of HIV transmission, and you should consider taking PrEP.
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