Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is a way for people who do not have HIV to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. The pill contains two anti-retroviral drugs that are also used in combination with other medicines to treat HIV. The two anti-retroviral drugs used are called tenofovir and emtricitabine, combined to form the pill called Truvada which has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since July 2012.
According to national and international studies conducted, the risk of getting HIV infection was lower – up to 92% lower – for participants who took the medicines consistently than for those that did not take the medicines.
Because no prevention strategy for sexually active people is 100% effective, patients taking PrEP are encouraged to use other effective prevention strategies to maximally reduce their risk, including:
Using condoms consistently and correctly
Getting routine HIV tested with partners
Choosing less risky sexual behaviors, such as oral sex
For people who inject drugs, getting into drug treatment programs and using sterile equipment
Some HIV prevention strategies, such as using condoms, can also provide protection against other STD's, which PrEP does not prevent.
For people who need to prevent HIV after a single high-risk event of potential HIV exposure – such as unprotected sex, needle-sharing injection drug use, or sexual assault – there is another option called post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP. PEP must begin within 72 hours of exposure.
For more information about PrEP and PEP, please contact our HIV specialists at (323) 257-1056.