How To Choose The Right Way Of Getting Prep Drugs
As stated earlier, there are several ways through which one can get HIV prophylaxis drugs. One could get medications from an HIV prevention center, online pharmacies or a licensed health care provider. However, these sources each have their advantages and cons.
Some of the benefits of getting drugs from an anti-HIV center include:
- free consultations
Cons of getting drugs from an anti-HIV center:
- it can be stressful
- requires a doctors prescription.
In the same vein, buying these pills from mail-order pharmacies can be advantageous and dangerous at the same time.
Some of the benefits of getting drugs from online pharmacies include:
- no prescription required
And remember: your health is your responsibility.
Is Prep Right For You
PrEP may benefit you if you test negative for HIV and
- you have had anal or vaginal sex in the past 6 months, and you:
- have a sexual partner with HIV ,
- have not consistently used a condom, or
- have been diagnosed with an STD in the past 6 months.
- have an injection partner with HIV, or
- youve beenprescribed PEP and you
- report continued risk behavior or
- have used multiple courses of PEP
If you are a woman and have a partner with HIV and are considering getting pregnant, talk to your doctor about PrEP. PrEP may be an option to help protect you and your baby from getting HIV while you try to get pregnant, during pregnancy, or while breastfeeding.
What Else Do I Need To Know About Being On Prep
Once youre on PrEP, youll need to go back to your doctor or nurse at least every 3 months to get tested for HIV. Theyll talk with you about any side effects or symptoms you may be having. They may also test you for other STDs, and test you to make sure your kidneys are working well. If pregnancy is possible for you, you might get a pregnancy test too.
Its really important to go to these follow-up appointments to make sure youre healthy and HIV-free. Its really unlikely youll get HIV if youre using PrEP consistently. But if you do happen to get HIV while using PrEP, its important for your health to stop using PrEP right away. PrEP is not a treatment for HIV in fact, taking PrEP when you have HIV can actually make the virus harder to treat.
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What Are Prep And Pep
- PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It is for people who don’t already have HIV but are at very high risk of getting it. PrEP is daily medicine that can reduce this risk. With PrEP, if you do get exposed to HIV, the medicine can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body.
- PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis. PEP is for people who have possibly been exposed to HIV. It is only for emergency situations. PEP must be started within 72 hours after a possible exposure to HIV.
What Does Prep Not Do
It is important to clarify that PrEP does not cure HIV it prevents a person who is HIV negative from contracting the virus if they are exposed to it.
PrEP does not protect anyone from other STDs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, or syphilis. It is also recommended that you continue to use condoms during sexual intercourse while on PrEP to provide the highest amount of protection from HIV transmission and STD/STI prevention.
Taking PrEP is the best way to protect yourself and your partner from HIV transmission. However, even if you take the medication, you should also do anything that you can to lower your HIV transmission risk by:
- Always using condoms during sexual contact.
- Getting regularly checked for STIs and STDs.
- Requesting sexual partners to be checked for STIs and STDs and knowing their HIV status.
- Never sharing needles or syringes with others.
While taking PrEP should not by any means deter you from using a condom during intercourse, it can actually be quite empowering for homosexual men who prefer to bottom during intercourse.
Bottoms are typically at a higher risk for HIV transmission, since they rely on the top to wear a condom and HIV is transmitted more commonly through anal intercourse. This gives the bottom less control over protection. However, by taking PrEP, bottoms can be significantly more empowered to protect themselves from HIV transmission.
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How To Get Started On Prep
You can get PrEP through Nurx by answering some simple questions about your health and lifestyle, as well as undergoing several lab tests. One of these is an HIV test, which will ensure that you are HIV-negative and can start PrEP. We can send the lab kit to your home, giving you a discreet option for obtaining PrEP. You can also have the testing done at a lab near you. If its a healthy option for you and can help reduce your risk of contracting HIV, we will ship your medication to you in discreet packaging.
PrEP is an effective way to prevent HIV in those who are at a higher risk of contracting the virus.
Is It True That There Is A Medication That Can Actually Prevent Someone From Getting Hiv
Yes. PrEP involves working with a healthcare provider to make an individualized plan to take medication to prevent HIV. Clinical trials have shown that PrEP is 99% effective at reducing sexual transmission of HIV. As of January 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two medications as PrEP for HIV: Truvada , and Descovy . Note: Descovy is not approved for use by cis-gender women.
Key Points About PrEP:
- PrEP medication is prescribed by a healthcare provider. People interested in PrEP can work with a healthcare provider to determine how PrEP can be tailored to their individual needs and circumstances.
- PrEP is only for people who are not living with HIV. HIV testing should be conducted before starting PrEP and repeated every three months to make sure the person is not living with HIV. Testing may be done by the healthcare provider or at a conveniently located community-based organization , healthcare facility or lab.
- Some people benefit from counseling and support for taking the medication regularly. If this is needed, the person can talk with the healthcare provider, a trusted CBO, a peer worker, or other provider.
- People at risk for HIV are also at risk for sexually transmitted infections . Counseling about using condoms to prevent STIs and periodic screening for STIs is important and may be provided by the healthcare provider, a trusted CBO, or other provider.
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How Can Providers Tell Someone Is Taking Prep As Prescribed
There are ways a provider can explore whether you’re taking PrEP as prescribed. In most cases, they will simply ask you about taking your medication and any obstacles you may have to using it consistently. Some research trials and clinical demonstration projects use methods such as measuring pill counts in bottles, tracking pharmacy refills, and testing blood plasma.
The newer technology of dried blood stain testing, which first became available in 2011, allows researchers to see a timeline of adherence going back four to eight weeks. Even newer advances in hair analysis can show a time of adherence going back approximately 90 days. Although DBS tests and hair analyses are not commercially available, they can be accessed through an ongoing study at University of California-San Francisco.
The SERO PrEP Initiative is a resource provided by Grant’s laboratory for people who may have become HIV infected after receiving PrEP, and it offers confirmatory lab tests and other services free of charge.
When providers and patients follow established protocols, meet with each other regularly, and communicate openly and honestly, then PrEP can play a significant role in lowering HIV rates among individuals, groups, and larger communities. But exactly how well does it work, and why does it occasionally fail?
TheBody will remain a fact-based resource for empirically driven research updates as they become available in these cases, and for additional reports in the future.
How Is Hiv Transmitted Through Needles
HIV isnt transmitted only through sexual contact. Sharing needles also puts a person at higher risk of contracting HIV.
When a needle is injected into a persons body, it breaks the skin barrier. If the needle has already been injected into another person, it can carry traces of their blood, along with any infections they have. The contaminated needle can introduce these infections into the second persons body.
Researchers dont know if having an undetectable viral load reduces the risk of HIV transmission through shared needles, but its reasonable to assume it may provide some risk reduction.
HIV can affect anyone. Whatever their age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or race, everyone should take steps to protect themselves. But due to socioeconomic factors, some demographic groups have higher HIV transmission rates and generally are more affected by HIV.
According to the CDC , the general demographic traits most affected by HIV are:
Transgender women are also highly impacted by HIV transmissions as a population, reports the CDC .
These groups are disproportionately affected by HIV, but they arent inherently at greater risk of contracting HIV. An individuals personal risk depends on their behaviors, not on their age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, or any other demographic factor.
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Actions For This Page
- Pre-exposure prophylaxis is an oral medication that prevents HIV in people at risk of infection with the virus.
- PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV by up to 99% when taken consistently as prescribed.
- All GPs in Australia can prescribe PrEP.
- PrEP doesnt protect against sexually transmissible infections . Condoms are still the best protection against infections .
- HIV transmission can also be prevented by using condoms during anal or vaginal sex, using sterile injecting equipment, not sharing injecting equipment or achieving and maintaining undetectable HIV viral loads if you are HIV-positive.
Despite Interventions Black And Hispanic Men Are Contracting Hiv At The Same Rates As 10 Years Ago
The new CDC guidelines have the potential to catalyze movement in these areas. They now acknowledge that many people can benefit from PrEP not just those believed to be at high risk of HIV infection. The guidelines also recommend a far more inclusive approach to PrEP care. Specifically, they recommend that health care providers tell any adolescent or adult who is having sex about PrEP, and patients who request PrEP should be offered it even in the absence of specific risk behaviors. In other words, even if a health care provider isnt sure why a patient is asking for PrEP because they dont disclose risk factors for getting HIV, the provider should offer PrEP anyway.
This may also increase the uptake of PrEP: Because of the overwhelming and consistent evidence of PrEPs benefits, in 2021 the federal government required Medicaid and many insurance companies and to cover the costs of PrEP medication, lab tests, and clinic visits with no out-of-pocket charges to patients.
Of course, guidelines are just guidelines. For these recommendations to have teeth, policies and structures must be put in place that push providers to talk to patients about PrEP. These preventive pills must be made accessible, even for people who are uninsured and living in areas with less HIV prevention infrastructure. After people get on PrEP, they need support to stick with it so it is as effective as possible.
Who Is Prep For
PrEP is for HIV-negative people at risk of HIV infection. Such as:
- Men who have sex with men without using a condom.
- Having a sexual partner who is HIV-positive and not on treatment or they are at high risk of getting HIV.
- You are sexually active and inconsistently use condoms.
PrEP isnt necessarily for everyone and is a personal choice. Your circumstances and your risk of being exposed to HIV should all play a role in deciding whether PrEP is right for you.
Speak with your doctor to see if PrEP is your best option to prevent HIV.
How Do You Use Prep
For men who have sex with men: you can use PrEP according to two dosing regimens: one daily pill, or around the time of sexual activity . This event-driven PrEP regimen entails the use of two tablets at a maximum of 24 and minimum of two hours before sex, followed by one tablet 24 hours and one 48 hours later. If you use the tablets according to the schedule, both dosing regimens prevent HIV infection effectively. An exception are trans men who have sex using their vagina: they will need to take PrEP daily, otherwise the protection will be insufficient.
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Stay On Top Of Medications Including Art Prep And Pep
Weve come a long way in HIV treatment and prevention, and some drugs can help you reduce the risk of transmission if youre living with HIV or are having sex with someone who is.
Talk with a medical professional about:
- ART: Antiretroviral therapy helps a person living with HIV stay healthy by lowering the viral load. Most people who take it as prescribed can lower their viral load to an undetectable level, so they cant transmit the virus to others.
- PrEP: A person whos HIV-negative significantly reduces their risk of contracting HIV by taking PrEP consistently.
- PEP: In the event of potential exposure to HIV, PEP is available for emergency use. It can help prevent HIV infection if started within 72 hours of exposure.
Cases Of Hiv Seroconversion On Prep With Verified Adherence
Location: Toronto, CanadaReceived resistant strain? YesAdherence confirmed by dried blood stain test? YesDescription: A 43-year-old gay man seroconverted after two years on PrEP. Dried blood spotting tests demonstrated greater than adequate adherence at the time of seroconversion. His strain suggested that he acquired a virus resistant to the same medications found in the drug Stribild .
Received resistant strain? NoAdherence confirmed by DBS? YesDescription: A 50-year-old gay man in a PrEP demonstration project seroconverted HIV eight months after starting PrEP. Dried blood spotting tests demonstrated greater than adequate adherence at the time of seroconversion. He did not acquire a strain of HIV that is resistance to medications.
Received resistant strain? YesAdherence confirmed by dried blood stain test? Yes, as well as hair samplingDescription: A 21-year-old Latinx man acquired HIV between months 10-13 of using PrEP. He had been confirmed as HIV negative at initiation, as well as months 3, 6, and 10. Through hair sampling it was verified he had more than adequate adherence from the previous 6 months. His strain of HIV was resistant to the same medications as his primary partner. His viral load was quickly brought down to undetectable.
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How Often Are Medical Appointments For Prep
People who want to take PrEP to prevent HIV can work with their healthcare provider to determine the schedule of medical appointments that best meets their needs. Here is a general description of the schedule of medical appointments for PrEP.
- Initial Medical Appointment: This first appointment includes education about PrEP, a discussion about readiness to take PrEP, a review of daily versus on-demand PrEP, HIV testing, and other lab work. If the person is ready to start PrEP, the medication can be started right after the initial medical appointment.
- First Follow-Up Contact: The healthcare provider and person should make a plan for a follow-up appointment or call at a convenient time, usually within 2-4 weeks, to:
- Check in on how things are going, including side effects
- Troubleshoot any problems with payment or access to support services.
- HIV testing: The person should have an HIV testevery three months to make sure they have not acquired HIV. The healthcare provider can order the testing which can be done at their office, a conveniently located CBO, health facility or lab. It is important that the results of the test are provided to the healthcare provider who prescribed PrEP.
- Follow-Up Appointments and Prescription Refills: The frequency of follow-up appointment is established jointly by the healthcare provider and the person.
How To Prevent The Spread Of Hiv
People living with HIV can use the following to prevent transmitting it to others:
- Pre-exposure prophylaxis : This is a daily pill that contains two antivirals called tenofovir and emtricitabine. When a person takes it daily, PrEP can reduce the risk of acquiring HIV through sex by
- of a recent potential HIV exposure.
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Theoretic Vs Documented Risk
Whenever discussing HIV risk, it is important to differentiate between a theoretic and documented risk. A documented risk is based on the actual number of cases to which HIV can be directly attributed to an act of oral sex. And, when looking through that lens, the risk of infection by oral sex is actually extremely low. Not zero, perhaps, but edging close to it.
In fact, according to a study from the University of California San Francisco’s Centers for AIDS Prevention Studies, the probability of HIV infection through unprotected oral sex was statistically zero, although the researchers went so far as to add that “we can not rule out the possibility that the probability of infection is indeed greater than zero.”
For an individual perspective, there are numerous factors and situations that can increase personal risk, sometimes considerably. By understanding and identifying these factors, you can make better, more informed choices about the sexual health of you and your partner.
Important Things To Know About Prep
Before starting PrEP, your doctor will check your health and organise some tests at your first appointment including:
- an HIV test
- kidney and liver function tests.
You will also receive information about how to reduce your risk of acquiring HIV.
PrEP must be taken as prescribed for maximum effective protection.
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