When PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is used correctly, the effective rate of preventing HIV through sexual transmission is 99%. This preventive treatment option involves taking Truvada or Descovy, a once-daily pill to reduce your risk of contracting HIV. It is meant for people who are HIV-negative but have a higher risk of contracting the virus due to their lifestyle or sexual habits.
The risk of becoming infected with HIV while using PrEP is very low. Therefore, it’s a beneficial option for those who don’t always practice safe sex practices or are sexually active with an HIV-positive partner(s). If you’re at a higher risk of contracting HIV and you’re trying to get pregnant, are currently pregnant, or are breastfeeding, using PrEP can also reduce the risk of you and your baby becoming infected with the virus.
If you skip any doses of the medication, your risk of HIV goes up. It’s important to make sure to take it exactly as directed. Using condoms every time you have sex can also lessen the risk of contracting HIV. It’s important to remember that PrEP does not protect against any other sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. The use of condoms along with PrEP can help you reduce your chances of contracting any STIs, including HIV.
Before being prescribed the medication and every three months while using it, you need to undergo several lab tests, including HIV testing. If you are already HIV-positive, PrEP is not a treatment option. Instead, you would need to see your healthcare provider to start a proper treatment plan for HIV to keep the symptoms and side effects under control and reduce your risk of transmitting the virus to others.