Effective protection for high-risk individuals
By Azra Shuib | June 11th, 2021
What is PrEP?
PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis, the antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) taken by HIV-negative people daily as a measure to protect themselves from HIV.
PrEP is available in the form of pills that are to be taken orally, or in the form of injections. They are meant to be consumed before potential exposure to the virus. It is highly effective - studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken daily. Among people who inject drugs, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV by at least 74% when taken daily. If PrEP is not taken consistently, the effectiveness reduces and condoms should be used as an important prevention strategy.
However, PrEP does not offer protection against other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and blood-borne diseases like Hepatitis C, syphilis, and gonorrhoea. Therefore, PrEP is usually delivered as part of a package for HIV/STI prevention services.
How long do people have to take PrEP before it is highly effective? Doctors say that it provides the highest protection from HIV at:
· About 7 days for receptive anal sex
· About 21 days for receptive vaginal sex and injection drug use
· No data are available for insertive anal sex or insertive vaginal sex. You should seek advice from the doctor if you are concerned.
How PrEP works
Reverse transcriptase is one of the enzymes present in HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus. PrEP will work to block this enzyme, preventing more copies of the virus from replicating in the body.
PrEP is available either in the form of pills or injections. Consumptions and duration of effectiveness may differ accordingly. At our affiliated clinic, PrEP pills will be used for prescriptions.
Contraindications for PrEP
· HIV positive individuals
· Estimated creatinine clearance < 60ml/min
· Signs of symptoms of acute HIV infection, probable exposure to HIV within 72 hrs
· Allergy or contraindication to any medicine in the PrEP regimen like TDF / FTC
HIV PrEP vs. HIV PEP
You may have also heard about PEP. It is different from PrEP in these ways:
HIV PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis)
· A daily pill for those at a high risk of developing AIDS, typically those with potential exposure to HIV.
HIV PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis)
· Taken after potential exposure to HIV in order to prevent infection/AIDS.
· Must be taken within 72 hours of exposure.
· Consists of 2 -3 antiretroviral medications which must be taken for about 28 days
Prevention is better than cure. Get your prescription for PrEP with our affiliated clinics: