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(Caring & Treating Since 2005)

HIV Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

What is HIV PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis)?

HIV PrEP is an extremely effective way of protecting yourself from HIV. It is currently one of the central pillars in our efforts to end the HIV epidemic in the world.

When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, PrEP can help stop the virus from establishing a permanent infection in the body.

HIV PrEP can be taken in several different ways depending on your unique lifestyle. The most common and effective way to take it is with a daily dose - a single tablet taken at around the same time every day. In medical studies, this has been shown to provide the best level of protection against HIV. Also, this schedule is easy to remember and adhere to, thereby reducing the chance of consuming the wrong amount of medication at the wrong time.

The medication currently recommended for HIV PrEP has also shown to be safe and effective for long-term use and rarely causes any significant side effects.

Because no prevention strategy for sexually active people is 100% effective, individuals taking PrEP are still encouraged to use other effective prevention strategies to maximally reduce their risk, including:
• Using condoms consistently and correctly
• Getting HIV and STD testing with partners
• Choosing less risky sexual behaviours, such as oral sex or mutual masturbation
• For people who inject drugs, getting into drug treatment programs and using sterile equipment

The more prevention options patients choose, the greater their protection. Some HIV prevention strategies, such as using condoms, can also provide protection against other STDs, which PrEP does not prevent.

Also Read: 7 FAQs on Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

Who can take HIV PrEP?

HIV PrEP is recommended for HIV-negative individuals who belong to a high-risk group for HIV infection.

HIV High-Risk Groups:

  • 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
  • Someone who has sex with commercial sex workers
  • Someone who has recently had a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
  • Someone who injects drugs, or has unprotected sex with someone who injects drugs

How to Take HIV PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis)?

1.) Daily PrEP

Daily-HIV-PrEP

Daily PrEP Regimen: 

  • Lead in time 7 days.
  • Taken daily at the same time  +/- a few hours ok

Type:

  • Anal, Vaginal/Frontal sex

Considerations:

  • Can be taken anytime of the day with or without food
  • In the event a pill is missed, adequate protection is still conferred.

2.) On Demand PrEP (Event Based Dosing)

hiv prep

On-Demand PrEP Regimen: 

Planned condomless sex 24 hours in advance:
Strictly:

  • take 2 pills 2 – 24 hours before sex
  • take 1 pill on the day of sex
  • take 1 pill 24 hours later

If having sex for an extended period of time, perhaps over a few days or a weekend, continue to take a pill every 24 hours until you have 2 sex-free days.

Type: 

  • Only for Anal sex
  • More studies required to show effectiveness in Vaginal/Frontal sex

Considerations:

  • This option is not recommended if you have an active hepatitis B infection. The drugs in PrEP also suppress the hepatitis B virus and so starting and stopping HIV PrEP can potentially cause viral flare-ups and liver inflammation.

3.) Ts and Ss (Tues, Thurs, Sat, Sun dosing)

how-to-take-hiv-prep

Ts and Ss Regimen:

  • Daily dosing for 7 days,
  • then dropping down to 4 pills per week on Tues/Thurs/Sat/Sun

Type: 

  • Only for Anal sex
  • More studies required to show effectiveness in Vaginal/Frontal sex

Considerations:

  • If you only have sex once or twice a month, you might not want to take a pill every day.
  • 4 pills per week will maintain a good baseline of the drug in your system and you can choose to increase up to daily 7 pills per week when you know you’re in a more sexually active period.
  • Some people using PrEP On Demand find that they might be taking 4 pills per week most weeks of the month and so opt for structuring this into the Ts and Ss instead.

4.) Hoilday PrEP

Ways-to-Take-HIV-PrEP

Holiday PrEP Regimen:

  • PrEP before a pre-planned block of time when your risk of exposure to HIV will be higher due to:
    • an increased number of partners of unknown HIV status
    • situations where condoms are not easily or always used
    • where alcohol or substances might be used
    • having sex while travelling to a country with a high HIV prevalence
  • Based on a 7-day period we recommend 7-7-7:
    • 7 days daily dosing before the period
    • 7 days daily dosing during the period (or for as long as the specific period lasts)
    • 7 days daily dosing after the period.

Type: 

  • Anal, Vaginal/Frontal sex

Considerations:

  • 7 days of PrEP before and after your last sexual encounter for several reasons:
    • 7 days lead-in provides adequate levels for both anal and vaginal or frontal sex.
    • 7 days lead in before the holiday or travel will allow the body to adjust to any possible side effects; most people do not experience any, but should you have side effects, these will usually have subsided within a week.

What is Event Based Dosing?

HIV PrEP is the so-called “Event Based PrEP.” This regimen is for people who have decided that they do not want to take HIV PrEP daily and only want to take it prior to an event.

The regimen requires the the individual to take 2 tablets of the HIV PrEP medicine between 2 to 24 hours prior to the event, followed by 1 tablet on the day of sexual intercourse, and a final tablet 1 day after after sex. Medical studies show that the protection provided against HIV for this regime is not as good as if the medicine is taken daily.

Furthermore, this regimen is more complex and therefore increases the risk of the individual taking the wrong amount of medication at the wrong time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on HIV PrEP

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HIV PrEP should not be seen as the magic pill that provides a magic shield against HIV. It is just one more effective tool we have to reduce the risk of HIV infection.

Furthermore, HIV PrEP does not protect the user against other STDs. Therefore, even if you are on HIV PrEP, it is important to still to use a condom regularly, as well as get your regular STD screening & HIV Testing.

If you are interested to find out more about HIV PrEP, please call our any of our clinics or drop us an email at hello@dtapclinic.com for an appointment with our doctors.

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