Pre-exposure prophylaxis is a method to prevent HIV contraction in individuals who are at a high risk of acquiring it. Some of the medicines that are used to treat HIV can also be used to prevent it. In PrEP treatment, the HIV-negative individual takes HIV medicines daily.
PrEP when done right, can reduce the risk of catching HIV by 90%. When combined with other methods of protection like condoms, for example, the risk is reduced further.
Prophylaxis means the prevention of disease by giving treatment. Pre-exposure Prophylaxis protects you from HIV if you come in contact with the virus. If you are at a high risk of contracting HIV because of your lifestyle choices, then PrEP is the way to go.
In this treatment, one pill is taken daily for 3 months, post which you should visit your health care provider for follow-up and prescription refill. HIV once acquired stays with the person forever. The virus cannot be eliminated from the body completely.
Most people will live with HIV for a long time before it becomes AIDS. AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is the end result of an HIV infection. In this disease, the immune system is weakened to a point where it cannot protect you from illnesses anymore.
It is, therefore, crucial to prevent it while you still can. A high-risk lifestyle like having unprotected sex with multiple partners can result in HIV infection. It may also be transmitted if you share needles or syringes with an infected person. PrEP is an extremely effective treatment to prevent HIV.
PrEP uses the same drugs that are used for HIV treatment. These drugs hang around in the body’s T cells. T cells are a type of immune cells and this is what the HIV attaches to and starts replicating itself. The medication that is used acts as a barrier between the virus and the T cell, preventing its replication.
It takes about 1 to 3 weeks for the medication to become effective in your system. The problem is the medication cannot last very long in the system. Hence, the need to take it daily. Once in place, the drug kills the virus before it interacts with your T cells.
Anal sex is how HIV is most frequently transmitted. You are also at risk if you have multiple partners or have a partner who’s had, multiple partners. Sex with sex workers may also lead to infection. If you are visiting a part of the world where HIV is widely spread, you may contract it by sex or if you have sex with someone who has been there.
Speak to a doctor about your wish to start PrEp. He will determine whether PrEP works for you. He will also check you for STDs and kidney function. If all goes well, you can start PrEP right away. PrEP pills must be taken daily. But they can also be had just before and after having sex.
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