Things you should know! Who should take PrEP?

Health News

26 Dec 2023

Things you should know! Who should take PrEP?

      PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is an oral medication used to prevent HIV infection in individuals who are at high risk of acquiring the virus through sexual contact or sharing needles with others. PrEP helps prevent HIV infection and reduces the viral load, making it difficult for the virus to grow in the body.  

Who should consider using PrEP?
  • Individuals who have sexual intercourse with a partner who is HIV-positive or at high risk of being infected with HIV, especially when the partner's HIV status is unknown.
  • Individuals who have multiple sexual partners or engage in frequent unprotected sexual intercourse.
  • Individuals who engage in anal sex without using protection.
  • Individuals who have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the past six months.
  • Individuals who inject drugs, especially when sharing needles or other equipment with others.
  • Individuals who take PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) regularly but cannot avoid high-risk behaviors.

Preparing for PrEP Medication

      Since taking PrEP medication requires daily dosing over an extended period, it's essential to consult a healthcare provider about its suitability, benefits, and gain knowledge about HIV and STI prevention. Additionally, you should discuss the cost and available support options. Once you've decided to start PrEP, consult a healthcare provider to provide a sexual history, information about any other medications you may be taking, and a screening for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, and pregnancy in women. PrEP should start within seven days of screening.

Differences Between PrEP and PEP Medication

      PrEP is a pre-emptive medication taken before engaging in activities with a high risk of HIV infection, while PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) is an emergency medication taken immediately or within 72 hours after a potential HIV exposure. PEP is typically used in cases such as :

  • Unprotected sexual intercourse with a partner who may have HIV or with a broken condom
  • Sexual assault
  • Sharing needles or drug injection equipment

      PEP has different formulations, and the choice depends on the healthcare provider's discretion. PEP should be taken consistently for 28 days, and regular follow-up appointments for HIV and other tests will be required during PEP treatment.

Who Should Not Use PrEP?

      PrEP is not recommended for children under 12 years old. In such cases, healthcare providers should suggest alternative methods of preventing HIV. Additionally, you should inform your healthcare provider if you have any of the following health factors or conditions:

  • Allergies to tenofovir, emtricitabine, or other medications
  • Chronic hepatitis B infection
  • Severe liver or kidney disease
  • Immune system disorders
  • A current HIV infection

      PrEP is most effective when taken consistently every day. It significantly reduces the risk of HIV infection. However, it is essential to practice safe sex to prevent HIV and other STIs, such as having fewer sexual partners, getting regular STI check-ups, and using condoms every time you have sex.


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