It has been a year since we first reported on PrEp and its ability to stop transmission of HIV when taken regularly…latest result reveal a 92% effectiveness. So knowing that, would you take PrEP? Take out survey below.
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What if there was a pill you could take once a day that would prevent the transmission of HIV. Would you take it? Well there is a pill that has proven 90% (some results suggest upto 99%) effective against HIV transmission and its called Truvada.
But how does it work?
“PrEP” stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. The word “prophylaxis” means to prevent or control the spread of an infection or disease. The goal of PrEP is to prevent HIV infection from taking hold if you are exposed to the virus. This is done by taking one pill every day. These are some of the same medicines used to keep the virus under control in people who are already living with HIV.
PrEP is recommended for people who are HIV-negative and at substantial risk for HIV.
For sexual transmission, this includes anyone who is in an ongoing relationship with an HIV-positive partner. It also includes anyone who 1) is not in a mutually monogamous (you and your partner only have sex with each other and do not have sex outside the relationship) relationship with a partner who recently tested HIV-negative, and 2) is a gay or bisexual man who has had anal sex without a condom or been diagnosed with an STD in the past 6 months; or heterosexual man or woman who does not regularly use condoms during sex with partners of unknown HIV status who are at substantial risk of HIV infection (e.g., people who inject drugs or have bisexual male partners).
For people who inject drugs, this includes those who have injected illicit drugs in the past 6 months and who have shared injection equipment or been in drug treatment for injection drug use in the past 6 months.
For heterosexual couples where one partner has HIV and the other does not, PrEP is one of several options to protect the uninfected partner during conception and pregnancy.
People who use PrEP must be able to take the drug every day and to return to their health care provider every 3 months for a repeat HIV test, prescription refills, and follow-up.
What are the pros and cons of PrEP?
The main PRO is the prevention of the transmission of HIV.
The main CON is that some people believe it will discourage the use of condoms, although PrEP is effective alone, it is recommend to be used with conjunction with condoms. PrEP also only prevents the transmission of HIV. It is not effective against other STIs like Hepatitis, Gonorrhea or Syphillis. Truvada also has side effects including lactic acidosis and severe liver problems.
To us, PrEP seems to be another vital step towards the prevention of HIV transmission, however many oppose it based on moral judgements. Many think a condom itself is enough encouragement not to use one…it de-pleasures sex and breaks spontaneity. Taking a daily pill with your breakfast (for example) is easier to do and lets us have sex the way it was meant to be.
According to Greg Mitchell in an article for thegayuk.com who is currently on a trial using PrEP…”I am convinced that many of those that are condemning the introduction of PrEP are also under the misapprehension that those gay men testing positive are just the dirty gay guys, the ones who go to weekend sex parties and take lots of drugs, and no doubt there is an undercurrent of feeling that they deserve it. (I don’t agree, by the way)” He continues to say “I would only now go bareback with someone I had a more intimate relationship with. What PrEP does is it removes that lingering anxiety, and how liberating that is….”
written by Brent Nicholls