PrEP & PEP: Medicines To Prevent HIV

Rahul Upadhyay

, Health A2Z



Indulgence in sexual intercourse with a carefree attitude and a lack of knowledge can be unfair for your health. Factors such as unprotected sex, sex with an HIV positive person, sex with multiple partners, or indulging in sexual activity with someone who has multiple sex partners, can become a probable cause of acquiring HIV.


Now, if you come under any of the above-mentioned categories, you are more prone to be affected by HIV. In such a case, do not sit and worry, instead, talk to a relevant medical professional nearby who could guide you about your conditions and could prescribe you a few medicines to prevent HIV.


PrEP & PEP: Medicines To Prevent HIV



PrEP and PEP are drugs to prevent HIV. Each type is used in a different situation. Follow the entire article to know about these medicines to prevent HIV.




PREP stands for pre-proliferation prophylaxis. It is for those who do not have HIV but are on higher risk of developing the condition. PrEP is a daily medicine that can reduce its risk. With PrEP, if you are exposed to HIV, the drug can prevent the spread of HIV throughout your body.





PEP means post-exposure prophylaxis. It is for those who are possibly exposed to HIV. This is for emergency situations only. PEP should be initiated within 72 hours of possible exposure to HIV.


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PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis): Who Should Take PrEP?


PrEP is for people who are without HIV or who are at a high risk of acquiring it. This includes: gay/bisexual men who have HIV-positive partners, have multiple partners, have a partner with multiple partners, or have a partner whose HIV status is unknown, and have had anal sex without a condom, or sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the last 6 months, heterosexual men and women who do not always use a condom when having sex.


People who inject drugs using shared needles or other devices to inject are also at a higher risk of acquiring HIV. If you have a partner who is HIV positive and is considering getting pregnant, talk to your health care provider.


Consulting a relevant doctor nearby can help protect the person and the baby from getting an HIV infection while trying to get pregnant, during pregnancy or during breastfeeding(after birth). If you find yourself affected by HIV infection, these medicines to prevent HIV can be of your help.


How Well Does PrEP Work?


PrEP is very effective when you take it every day. It reduces the risk of HIV from sex by more than 90 percent. For those who inject drugs, it reduces the risk of HIV by more than 70 percent. If you do not take it continuously, then PrEP is much less effective.


PrEP does not protect against other STDs, so you should still use a condom every time you have sex. You should have an HIV test every 3 months while taking PrEP, so you will have regular follow-up visits with your health care provider. If you are having trouble taking PrEP every day or if you want to stop taking PrEP, talk to the doctor specialized in treating HIV.


What Are The Side Effects Of PrEP?


PrEP is one of the medicines to prevent HIV. Some people taking PrEP may have side effects like nausea. The side effects are usually not severe and often improve over time. If you are taking PrEP, tell your health care provider about any side effects that bother you or that do not go away.



PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis): Who Should Consider Taking PEP?


If you are HIV-negative and think you have recently been exposed to HIV, contact your health care provider immediately or go to an emergency room immediately. If you are HIV negative or do not know your HIV status, you may be prescribed PEP, and in the last 72 hours you feel that you may have been exposed to HIV during sex, needles or drug preparation equipment, or sexual harassment may worsen your health.


The care provider or emergency room doctor will help you decide if PEP is right for you. PEP can also be given to a health care worker after a potential risk of HIV at work, for example, from needles injury.


When Should I start PEP and How Long Do I Need To Take It?


PEP is also among the medicines to prevent HIV and should be started within 72 hours (3 days) after the possible risk of HIV. The sooner you start it, the better; every hour matters.


You have to take PEP medicines every day for 28 days. You have to see your health care provider certain times during and after taking PEP, so you may have HIV screening tests and other tests.


What Are The Side Effects Caused By PEP?


Some people taking PEP may have side effects such as nausea. The side effects are usually not severe and often improve over time. If you are taking PEP, tell your health care provider about any side effects that bother you or that do not go away.


PEP drugs can also interact with other medications that a person is taking (called drug interaction). Therefore it is important to tell your health care provider about any other medications that you take.


Can I Take PEP Every Time I Have Unprotected Sex?


PEP is for emergency situations only. This is not the right choice for those who may be exposed to HIV frequently – for example, if you often have sex without a condom with a partner who is HIV positive. In that case, you should talk to your health care provider.


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