When the HIV pandemic first started, doctors had no way of helping those who were affected. The patients’ immune systems got so compromised that they died of all kinds of illnesses. However, medicine has come quite far since then and HIV is not the monster it used to be in those days.
These days, people with HIV can live almost normal and full lives with the right treatments. However, since there will always be a risk of passing HIV to the partners of an infected person, there are measures people can take to avoid the spread as well.
PrEP is one of the common terms people use with HIV, but what does it mean? How does it work? Can everyone get it? Let’s check it out.
What Is PrEP?
PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis is a medication designed to prevent the passing of HIV from one person to another. PrEP is not for people who already have HIV, it is made for those who have a higher chance of getting the virus. Essentially, partners and spouses of people who have HIV use PrEP so they don’t get it themselves.
How Does PrEP Work?
PrEP is a type of antiviral medication that works to stop the virus from multiplying in your body. If the virus can’t multiply, then it can’t affect you. When used correctly, PrEP is highly effective in destroying the virus in your body after exposure.
When you visit a regular hospital, special medical centers, or Transgender healthcare clinics, among others, you will be tested for HIV before starting your PrEP medication. You will need to test negative for HIV at the beginning and every three months after starting your treatment.
It’s better to wait for a negative result before going on PrEP because the medication can’t treat those infected with the virus and you might develop resistance to the drug.
To make PrEP more effective, you should also get preventative counseling to understand the preventative measures you can take to decrease your chances of coming into contact with the virus in the first place.
Can Anyone Get PrEP?
Not everyone can get PrEP and neither should everyone be taking medication that they don’t need to take. Keep in mind that it is still a drug and has side effects.
While you may still be able to get your facial Botox treatments done, the side effects can cause certain problems. That’s why healthcare professionals also take a blood test before the treatment and every three months after it.
For starters, you need to test negative for HIV for your doctor to even consider you for PrEP medication as stated above. If you’re eligible for the medication, you should only consider taking PrEP in the following circumstances:
- Your sexual partner has HIV with a detectable or unknown viral load
- You don’t use condoms consistently
- You have contracted a sexually transmitted disease in the past six months
Keep in mind, you can contract HIV no matter the gender of your sexual partner. Also, HIV can be contracted by sharing injections with other people. Even if you share your insulin injections with someone who might have HIV, you could get the virus as well.