HIV PrEP & HIV PEP For HIV Prevention
Transcript from video:
Hi, I’m Dr. Jonathan Ti from Dr. Tan and Partners, and today I’d like to talk about HIV PrEP.
PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, and it has emerged in recent years as one of the most effective ways to prevent HIV infection. Individuals taking PrEP can reduce their risk of getting HIV by upwards of 95%. This type of medication must be taken before any risk exposure to be effective. It is different to Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PEP, which is taken immediately after a possible exposure and uses additional medications.
PrEP is usually taken as a once daily tablet, a combination of antiviral drugs tenofovir and emtricitabine. Other types of dosing regimens are available as well, depending on the unique lifestyle of the individual. Studies have shown that PrEP is generally safe for long term use, but some may experience side effects such as a reduction in kidney function and bone density, especially with the older version of medication called Truvada. The US FDA recently approved a newer drug called Descovy for use as PrEP, which has shown to be equally effective in preventing HIV infection whilst touting an improved safety profile for kidney and bone toxicity. The main difference between Descovy and Truvada is the form of tenofovir drug present – the newer Descovy uses TAF, which enters target cells more efficiently than Truvada’s TDF, and means that a much lower dose of tenofovir is needed. This means that other tissues such as kidney and bone are exposed to a much lower dose of the drug and there is less risk of drug toxicity and side effects.
HIV PrEP is recommended for individuals who belong to a high-risk group for HIV infection, and who do not have any current established HIV infection. HIV high-risk groups may include:
- Someone who has an HIV-positive partner
- Someone who has multiple sex partners, a partner with multiple partners, or a partner whose HIV status is unknown and does not practice safe sex; there is higher risk in men who have sex with men or transgender women
- Someone who has sex with commercial sex workers
- Someone who has recently had a sexually transmitted disease
- Someone who injects drugs, or has unprotected sex with someone who injects drugs
Both Truvada and Descovy are available in our clinics. They are only available by prescription. Please speak to our Doctors if you think PrEP is right for you.