Sunday, October 24, 2021

What Is Prep and How Long Does It Take for HIV Prep to Work?

PrEP is a medication used by individuals who are HIV negative to prevent them from contracting the HIV virus. It works by taking two different drugs (often formulated as one pill), tenofovir and emtricitabine. The medication is highly effective when taken correctly. Anyone taking the PrEP medication must see a nurse or doctor every three months for screening; testing includes STI testing, HIV testing, and possible side effects. Currently, this drug has been approved for people 18 years of age and older. Healthcare providers can prescribe PrEP to patients younger than this age, depending on the risk.

What is the difference between PrEP and PEP?

Both medications are used to prevent a patient from contracting HIV. PrEP involves taking two different medicines on an ongoing basis, starting before any exposure has occurred. PEP medications (called post-exposure prophylaxis) are used after having potential exposure to HIV. It includes three different medications that can reduce the risk of getting HIV. It must be used by an HIV-negative person as soon as possible after exposure. It must be used within 72 hours of being exposed. Users must take the PEP medication for four full weeks to prevent HIV.

Who can prescribe PrEP?

This medication requires a prescription to have it filled. Often, a doctor or nurse must give the medicine to their patient, although pharmacists can write the occasional script. Those wanting to receive the medication quickly can look into PrEP prescribed online. The medication can be taken for a short period or a long time. Most people will use the drug while at risk for HIV. It’s important to talk to your doctor before stopping this medication, especially if there has been a potential risk in the recent past.

Who Should Use PrEP?

Anyone having vaginal or anal sex without a condom (particularly if they don’t know the current HIV status of their partner) should consider using PrEP. Likewise, anyone who uses injection drugs occasionally or shares needles can lessen their HIV risk by using PrEP. If you’re with a partner that is HIV positive (even if they’re on medications to reduce the viral load), you should consider using antiviral drugs to improve their chance of staying HIV negative. Individuals that have HIV should not take PrEP medications. Using these drugs while HIV positive can increase the chances of drug resistance developing. It’s important to discuss your current medical health with your doctor before starting this medicine.

How does PrEP work within the body?

People who take PrEP consistently and regularly have drug levels in high concentrations in places that HIV can enter the body. This includes the bloodstream, rectal tissues, and genitals. The pharmaceuticals located in PrEP prevent HIV from making copies of the virus within the body. You must take the medication at least seven days before exposure for it to be effective. For vaginal sex and needle usage, users should be taking medicine for 21 days before exposure.

Men who engage in sex with other men can opt to take PrEP on demand. If following this schedule, they are protected after the first two hours of consumption. It’s important to keep taking your medications on a regular schedule, at approximately the same time each day. If someone forgets to take their medication, it’s important not to double up on the pill. Using additional protection like condoms can keep patients safe when drugs have been forgotten.

Does PrEP Fail to Prevent HIV Occasionally?

Most often, PrEP fails when a person fails to take the medication correctly and as prescribed. If pills aren’t taken properly, the levels of medicine in the body may not be high enough to prevent infection. In rare instances, individuals may be exposed to a resistant form of HIV, despite taking medications properly. Only a few reported cases of HIV have been reported while taking PrEP properly.

Can People Take PrEP When Pregnant or Breastfeeding

Daily PrEP medications are safe for breastfeeding and pregnant individuals wanting to protect themselves against infection. It’s important to discuss any health concerns with your doctor before starting a new medication. A doctor will help you determine the risk of the drug versus the potential exposure to HIV.

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