Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medications are used by individuals who are at significant risk of contracting the HIV virus. Through daily doses of PrEP, individuals who may be exposed to the HIV virus can prevent the virus from infecting their healthy cells and spreading.
What Is In PrEP Medication?
Currently, the only FDA-approved pill for PrEP is Truvada.
Truvada is composed of two separate HIV medicines, housed in single daily oral pill: tenofovir and emtricitabane. Each medicine is used separately to slow the spread of HIV in HIV-positive individuals. When taken by individuals who aren’t infected, the medicine works to prevent the virus from attaching to uninfected cells and spreading. It does this by interfering with enzymes called reverse transcriptase. The HIV virus uses reverse transcriptase enzymes to make copies of itself. Truvada slows reactivity in these cells, drastically reducing the virus’s ability to spread in the human body.
According to the CDC, PrEP can reduce the risk of contracting the HIV virus through sexual activity by 92% when taken as prescribed. The drug has also been shown to reduce the risk of contracting HIV through injection-based drug use by up to 70% when taken as prescribed.
If not taken as prescribed, Truvada offers significantly less protection against the virus, both in sexual activity and in injected drug use.
Does PrEP Work for Everyone?
Truvada has been shown to prevent HIV infection in men, women and transwomen who are at risk of contracting HIV and take the pill every day.
All individuals seeking PrEP treatment must test negative for HIV before treatment can begin.
If you test negative for HIV and begin PrEP, you must commit to taking the medicine every single day to be protected from HIV infection. Individuals taking PrEP medication must also commit to follow-up visits with their doctors every 3 months of treatment.
Who Should Take PrEP?
PrEP is recommended for individuals who are HIV-negative and are at high risk of contracting the HIV virus via sexual activity or injected drugs.
- HIV-negative individuals who are engaged in ongoing sexual contact with HIV-positive individuals
- Bisexual or homosexual men who engage in anal sex without the use of condoms
- Individuals who have engaged in injected drug use in the last six months.
Read more about PrEP, who should take Truvada, and what to expect here.
Ocala Infectious Disease and Wound Care is proud to provide PrEP regimens to individuals who want an extra level of protection against HIV infection.