- What is PrEP?
- Why take PrEP?
- is PrEP a vaccine?
- Should I consider taking PrEP?
- How well does PrEP work?
- Is PrEP safe?
- How can I start PrEP?
- If I take PrEP, can I stop using condoms when I have sex?
- How long do I need to take PrEP?
- How long do I have to take PrEP before it is effective?
- Can you start PrEP after you have been exposed to HIV?
PrEP is for people without HIV who are at very high risk for getting it from sex or injection drug use. The federal guidelines recommend that PrEP be considered for people who are HIV-negative and in an ongoing sexual relationship with an HIV-positive partner.
This recommendation also includes anyone who
PrEP is also recommended for people who have injected drugs in the past 6 months and have shared needles or works or been in drug treatment in the past 6 months.
If you have a partner who is HIV-positive and are considering getting pregnant, talk to your doctor about PrEP if you’re not already taking it. PrEP may be an option to help protect you and your baby from getting HIV infection while you try to get pregnant, during pregnancy, or while breastfeeding.
Because PrEP involves daily medication and regular visits to a health care provider, it may not be right for everyone. And PrEP may cause side effects like nausea in some people, but these generally subside over time. These side effects aren’t life threatening.
If used the right way every time you have sex, condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV and some STDs you can get through body fluids, like gonorrhea and chlamydia. However, they provide less protection against STDs spread through skin-to-skin contact, like human papillomavirus or HPV (genital warts), genital herpes, and syphilis. See How well do condoms prevent HIV? Learn the right way to use a male condom.
You must take PrEP daily for it to work. But there are several reasons people stop taking PrEP. For example,
- If your risk of getting HIV infection becomes low because of changes in your life, you may want to stop taking PrEP.
- If you find you don’t want to take a pill every day or often forget to take your pills, other ways of protecting yourself from HIV infection may work better for you.
- If you have side effects from the medicine that are interfering with your life, or if blood tests show that your body is reacting to PrEP in unsafe ways, your provider may stop prescribing PrEP for you.
You should discuss this question with your health care provider.
PEP means taking antiretroviral medicines after a potential exposure to HIV to prevent becoming infected. PEP must be started within 72 hours of possible exposure to HIV. If you’re prescribed PEP, you’ll need to take it once or twice daily for 28 days.