PrEP, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is the latest medication in preventing the spread of HIV.
What is HIV?
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is a virus. Unlike other viruses, once a person gets HIV, they have it for life. HIV virus weakens the body’s immune system, making it harder for the person to fight off other infections. HIV can develop into AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
What is PrEP?
FDA has approved drug called Truvada that has been shown to be safe and effective at preventing HIV in those who take the medication daily. The drug is a combination of two medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine). These medications were previously used to help HIV positive patients (patients who have HIV). When testing the drug on HIV negative (people who do not have HIV) clients, researchers found that these two drugs combined also helped prevent HIV negative clients from becoming HIV positive
Who Should Take PrEP?
PrEP is a prophylaxis (meaning something that can prevent) for HIV. PrEP is recommended for those who are HIV negative and are at very high risk for getting HIV from sex or injection drug use. Guidelines recommend that a person who is HIV negative take the medication daily if in a relationship with someone who is HIV positive. There are other recommendations including people who have injected drugs, those who do not use condoms regularly, and gay or bisexual man who has had unprotected sex or been diagnosed with an STD in the past 6 months. Talk to your doctor to see if you are considered at risk.
Does PrEP replace condoms?
No. PrEP is only used to prevent HIV from spreading to those who do not already have it, but are at high risk of becoming HIV positive. PrEP does not prevent against other STDs or from becoming pregnant.
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