Is PrEP Right for You? Review These Questions

Is PrEP Right for You? Review These Questions

 

A significant medical advancement in the fight against HIV/AIDS is PrEP – short for pre-exposure prophylaxis. People who are at a significant risk of getting HIV can take a daily pill to greatly reduce their risk of infection.

 

The pills – under the brand name Truvada or Descovy  – contains two medicines that are used in combination with other medicines to treat HIV. So, according to the Centers for Disease Control, when someone is exposed to HIV either through sex or injection drug use, these two medicines work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection.

The CDC reports that when PrEP is taken consistently, it can reduce the risk of HIV infection in high-risk people by up to 92 percent.

This means PrEP can be a powerful tool in preventing HIV, especially when combined with other prevention methods such as condoms. Those who plan to take PrEP have to commit to taking the medication every day and see their health care provider every 3 months for a follow-up visit.

Does this mean PrEP is right for you? Review this questions and if you answer “yes” to one or more, schedule some time to talk with your doctor about a PrEP regimen.

  • Do you use condoms sometimes or not at all?
  • Do you engage in anal or vaginal sex without a condom?
  • Is your sexual partner(s) HIV-positive or an unknown status?
  • Have you been on PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) in the past year?
  • Have you used PEP before more than once?
  • Have you been treated recently for an STI, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia?
  • Are you trying to get pregnant with a HIV-positive partner?
  • Do you/your sex partner(s) use or inject drugs?
  • Do you/your sex partner(s) exchange sex for money, housing, drugs or other needs?
  • Has your partner threatened or forced you to have sex against your will?

PrEP can be a good option for many people, but, again is most effective when other safer sex habits are used as well. Take the time to discuss PrEP with your health care provider to determine if it’s a good fit for you and you’re committed to taking the pill each day and attending your follow-up doctor’s visits.

Elmer Thomas

Counseling, Testing & Referral Services

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Elmer started as a volunteer with Palmetto Community Care before joining the staff as a HIV tester and counselor. He administers HIV and STI tests while also providing education on HIV, AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. Elmer said it does his heart good to know he’s making a difference in the community by being part of something greater than himself. Elmer is retired from the U.S. Air Force having served during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He also spent 20 years as a licensed practical nurse in Southern California, bringing to Palmetto Community Care his vast experience in patient care. When he’s not working, Elmer’s spending time with his family, including several nieces and nephews as well as reading, listening to music and traveling.
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