HIV prevention has come a long way in recent years. Now, those who are at risk for HIV exposure can take PrEP, a medication designed to prevent the transmission of HIV through sexual contact, and to a lesser degree, IV drug use. If you are taking PrEP or considering taking it, there are a few tips you can benefit from learning.
1. Start taking the medication before you have sexual contact.
The medication does not start working immediately. It can take a week to a month for it to become concentrated enough in your body to actively prevent HIV. As such, you should abstain from unprotected sex until you have been taking PrEP daily for a month. (If you only have anal sex, you may be able to begin safely engaging in sex sooner, but be sure to clear this with your doctor first.)
2. Set an alarm to help you remember your medication.
Skipping even one day of PrEP can reduce its effectiveness and leave you exposed to HIV. So, to ensure you never forget to take your medication, set an alarm on your phone. Set the alarm for a time when you are almost always available and able to take the pill. For instance, you may want to set it for 9:30 pm when you're winding down and getting ready for bed — not 2:00 pm when you may be in the middle of work.
3. Keep an extra pill in your wallet.
Put a single pill in your wallet so that you always have it with you. This way, if your plans change and you end up out and about at the time you usually take your pill, you will have a dose available. Some people even like to bring their whole pack of pills with them; they keep it in their wallet all of the time.
4. Take the pills with food, if needed.
You do not have to take PrEP with food. However, some people do find that it makes them feel nauseous when taken on an empty stomach. If this happens to you, then taking your pill with food should help you feel more comfortable. Side effects are rarely severe enough to warrant discontinuing PrEP.
If you have any other questions about taking PrEP for HIV prevention, reach out to your doctor. This is an excellent way to protect yourself, but only if you use it properly.
To learn more, contact a company like CAN Community Health near you.Share
21 October 2021
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