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You’ve probably heard of HIV, but what is PrEP? PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a medication that you can take to prevent HIV. It’s a daily pill that you take by mouth. PrEP is an HIV prevention method for people who don’t have HIV but who are at risk of getting it. If you take PrEP every day, it can significantly reduce your risk of getting HIV from sex by up to 92%. And if you do get HIV while you’re taking PrEP, it’s likely that the virus will be less severe because you’ll have less of it in your body. 

What Is PREP

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at very high risk of getting it to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. The pill (brand name Truvada) contains two medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine) that are used in combination with other medicines to treat HIV. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection.

PrEP is recommended for people who are at high risk of getting HIV, including:

- People who don't always use condoms when having sex with people whose HIV status is unknown
- Gay and bisexual men who have unprotected anal sex or who have many sexual partners
- Couples in which one partner has HIV and the other does not
- People who inject drugs and share needles or other injecting equipmen

CDC recommends that PrEP be considered for people who are HIV-negative and in an ongoing sexual relationship with an HIV-positive partner. PrEP can also be considered for people who are not in a monogamous relationship, as well as gay and bisexual men, transgender women, and anyone else at substantial risk for HIV infection.

When And How To Take PrEP

Daily PrEP

PrEP is usually not taken as a single dose, but rather as a daily regimen that has to be followed consistently. Therefore, if you are uncertain about when you will have sex in the future, it is best to take PrEP on an ongoing basis or develop a plan with your healthcare provider.

PrEP on-demand

You can also take PrEP on-demand which means that you only take the medication when you are at risk of contracting HIV.  The regime for on-demand PrEP is 2 pills 2-24 hours before having sex then 1 pill per day for two more days after sex.


You are having sex today at 5pm:
1. Take 2 pills between 5pm yesterday and 3pm today - the earlier the better but not more than 24 hours before the intercourse
2. Take 1 pill tomorrow at 5pm
3. Take another pill the day after tomorrow at 5pm.

Side-Effects Of PrEP

Side-effects are usually mild and go away after a few days.

The most common side effect of PrEP is fatigue. This can be a result of the body's reaction to the medication, or simply due to the stress of taking the medication. Other common side effects include headache, nausea, and vomiting. In some cases, PrEP can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting. If you experience any of these side effects, it is important to contact your doctor or healthcare provider immediately.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Yes! It’s important to remember that PREP does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so you should still use condoms every time you have sex.

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