Pre-exposure Prophylaxis – How quickly does PrEP start working?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (also known as PrEP) is one of the most effective preventative treatments for HIV, lowering the chances of HIV-negative people contracting the virus. PrEP is a preventative agent against HIV from injection drug use or sexual encounters. This medication is ideal for individuals with ongoing risk factors of an infection, like sharing needles or having intimate relations with an HIV-positive person.

How is PrEP used?

There are only a few different medications available for use as PrEP, which requires a prescription from a doctor before use. Anyone looking to start this medication must arrange an appointment with the doctor. The doctor will complete an STI panel before prescribing the drug. Most prescription durations are three-month intervals, with subsequent testing required for refills. Only HIV-negative individuals may take PrEP medications. Those who are HIV-positive may develop drug resistance when starting pre-exposure prophylaxis. Anyone wanting PrEP for HIV resources should contact an online clinic, family doctor, or walk-in clinic for more information.

Who should take PrEP Medications?

PrEP is meant for individuals with an increased risk of HIV exposure. Risk factors include new partners, prior diagnosis of an STD within the last six months, or not consistently using a condom. Anyone regularly sharing needles, injecting with a partner diagnosed with HIV, or sharing drug paraphernalia should also consider using PrEP medications. Anyone who has previously used PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) and continues at-risk behavior is also qualified for this medication.

Is PrEP Safe for Use?

While PrEP is considered safe for both adults and adolescents, it’s important to note that some individuals experience side effects with the medications. These side effects are often temporary, with most disappearing over time. Common side effects include headache, fatigue, stomach pain, and diarrhea. Always discuss severe or persistent side effects with a healthcare professional.

Is PrEP Effective?

When taken consistently and correctly, PrEP medications are 99% effective against the transmission of HIV between male-to-male transmission. These transmissions are similar for male-to-female interactions as well. High-profile trials around the globe have proven effective against transmission risks, which virtually eliminate chances of transmission associated with high-risk activities (these might include needle sharing and unprotected sex).

This medication is meant for short intervals and can be started or stopped as needed. The duration is dependent on your lifestyle, whether you need the drug for a few weeks, months, or years. If you’re having relations with a new partner, PrEP is an effective protection method against HIV. Likewise, using PrEP medications while trying to conceive with an HIV-positive partner can prevent transmission between partners.

How to take PrEP Medications

Currently, the administration of the medications is as a single dose drug with two anti-HIV drugs. Medications are taken daily on an ongoing basis as a continuous preventative method. Take this medication before and after potential exposure to HIV. These medications are different from PEP medications, which are taken as post-exposure medication. PEP medications are emergency treatments for HIV to prevent transmission after a possible exposure to the virus. PrEP medications are daily medications designed to limit transmission. They are taken daily as a preventative medication.

When Does PrEP Become Effective?

It’s essential to recognize that the maximum protection from HIV depends on the type of activity individuals are engaging in. For those engaging in receptive anal sex, PrEP medications are effective after seven days of regular, daily use. For injection drug use or receptive vaginal sex, PrEP medications reach the maximum level of protection after 21 days of daily use. Until achieving maximum levels of protection, it’s essential to use condoms.

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