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What is prep medication?

prep medication

What is prep medication?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) refers to a type of virus that attacks and corrupts the body’s immune system. Without proper treatment, it can advance to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). AIDS is a chronic and life-threatening condition that ultimately damages the body’s resistance and makes way for opportunistic infections and diseases.

Although there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, antiviral drugs are available to treat the infection. It involves using antiretroviral therapy, which uses a combination of drugs to suppress and stop the virus’ replication process. Besides the availability of antiviral treatments, there is another way to prevent HIV/AIDS. This therapy is called PrEP.

What is PrEPmedication? PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a type of medicine people take to reduce their risk for HIV. It stops HIV from colonizing and spreading throughout your body. Today, there are only two FDA-approved oral PrEP drugs, Truvada and Descovy. Additionally, an injectable form of PrEP is available and approved by the FDA.

Why do you need to take PrEP?

After developing antiretroviral therapy, medical experts find a better way to prevent HIV. Thankfully, PrEP has become available in this day and age. Taking PrEP is beneficial for sexually active people. It reduces their chances of getting HIV from sexual intercourse. It provides safety from infection with a whopping 99% efficiency rate.

How long does it work?

Consider the following when prescribed a PrEP medication:

  • Anal sex (receptive) – The maximum protection from the infection reaches about seven days of daily consumption.
  • Vaginal sex (receptive) – The maximum protection from the infection reaches about 21 days of daily usage. It also involves injection drug use.

Am I suitable to use PrEP?

These are the following factors that you need to learn before using PrEP:

  • You can use PrEP if you test negative for HIV.
  • PrEP is beneficial if you have had anal or vaginal sex for the past six months.
  • PrEP usage is possible if you consistently use a condom during sexual intercourse.

Note: PrEP’s efficiency is lower for people who inject drugs than those who engage in sexual contact. PrEP medication is still possible; however, a doctor’s advice and prescription are necessary.

What are the approved drugs for PrEP?

The two FDA-approved oral PrEP medications are as follows:

  • Truvada – This drug is a combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. They are also anti-HIV drugs that work by preventing HIV’s growth within the body.
  • Descovy – This drug is typically prescribed in sexually active men and transgender women. It is a combination of antiviral drugs emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide. These drugs function by preventing HIV from replicating in the body.

As mentioned, a long-acting injectable form of PrEP is also available. It is called Apretude. This FDA-approved medication is administered every two months compared to oral pills’ daily use.

Is PrEP safe?

Yes. PreP is safe. For many years, there has not been a single case of complications involving people that use PrEP medications. Although there are side effects, they usually go and vanish over time. Its side effects include nausea, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, and stomachache.

One thing to remember about PrEP is that it only protects you against HIV. It means that you are still likely to get other sexually transmitted infections. Using condoms while also consuming PrEP is recommended to avoid contracting STIs.

Sources:

hiv.gov/hiv-basics/hiv-prevention/using-hiv-medication-to-reduce-risk/pre-exposure-prophylaxis
cdc.gov/hiv/basics/prep/prep-effectiveness.html
mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hiv-aids/symptoms-causes/syc-20373524
cdc.gov/hiv/basics/prep/about-prep.html
iwantprepnow.co.uk/before-starting-prep/

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