by Alice Kachman, M.D.
AIHFS Medical Director/Provider
PrEP = Pre-exposure prophylaxis. It’s a way of preventing HIV infection in people at high risk for HIV exposure but are presently HIV negative. It’s a daily pill with two well-known HIV treatment medications. Studies done so far show a reduction of HIV infection by 92% in people who take the pill EVERY DAY. PrEP does not work this well if it isn’t taken every day.
PrEP is for people who are HIV negative but are at risk of getting HIV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends PrEP for people who do not have HIV and are at a substantial risk for HIV. This includes HIV transmission by sexual contact and people who inject illicit drugs.
For sexual transmission, HIV risk includes an ongoing relationship with a partner with HIV, gay or bisexual man who has had anal sex without a condom or has a recent diagnosis of a STD in the past 6 months or a heterosexual man or woman who does not regularly use condoms with partners of unknown HIV status but at high risk for HIV (inject illicit drugs or has bisexual male partners).
People who use PrEP must take the drug every day and return to their health provider every 3 months for a repeat HIV test, prescription refill, and follow up.
PrEP is only for people who have a substantial risk for HIV infection.
AIHFS can help. If you are HIV negative and think you are at a high risk for getting HIV, make an appointment to talk about PrEP. It can save your life.